April 9 at the Bug Jar the much-hyped
outfit lived up to the hype – at times, at least – before a sold-out crowd.
Opening act: Champagne Champagne.
By April S.
The Bug Jar
proved radically small to hold the fans of STRFKR and Champagne Champagne. The
sold out venue turned people away as the stage area of Bug Jar was already
filled to capacity. And, as fate would have it, this concert occurred when a warm
day found its way to upstate NY. This proved perilous when confined in a tiny room
of jumping fans who are destined to sweat on you.
Opening act Champagne
Champagne had their cluster of dedicated fans in the crowd who cheered them on
from the moment their music began. However, not everyone in the audience showed
elation once the beats dropped. The Seattle
rap trio – Pearl Dragon, Thomas Gray and DJ Gajamagic (Mark Gajadhar) – had to
win over a crowd of people who were electronica, dance-pop enthusiasts. Gray
and Gajamagic’s energy was infectious; Gajamagic created layers of sound from
his effect board as Gray jumped and moved to the music. People were slowly
warming up to Champagne Champagne. However, Pearl proved unimpressed by the
majority of the sullen faces in the front of the audience.
their long set, Pearl asked the rambunctious fans in the back of the room to
come to the front of the stage, he “needed their energy.” And here began the
obnoxious shoving, jumping and sweating on innocent bystanders. Ignoring the
audience, Champagne Champagne do know how to put on a high-octane performance and
their upbeat music and tongue-in-cheek lyrics – such as “Molly Ringwald” – are
proves enticing. Yet, those STRFKR fans who claimed an early stake on the front
of the stage wearily waited for the Oregon quartet to perform.
On tour to
promote their recently released second album Reptilians STRFKR had a lot of setting up to do. With no room to
leave their instruments on stage as the opening acts performed, the guys had to
somewhat quickly setup their lasers, two drums kits, three keyboards, a
turntable, and of course all of the amps associated with the guitars and bass.
Once they were done, lead singer Josh Hodges thanked the audience for their
patience and STRFKR immediately leapt into “Astoria.”
sounded seamless and the crowd started dancing; however, Hodges’ vocals barely
soared over the finely executed music. Regardless of this minor setback STRFKR
continued and played other crowd favorites from Reptilians and their self titled debut album. “Bury Us Alive,”
“Mystery Cloud” and the title track were all quickly played in succession. Upon
the first few notes of popular song “Rawnald Gregory Erickson the Second” – thanks
to its usage in a Target commercial – the audience cheered and applauded and
began singing along with Hodges. Yet, the one song several fans wanted to hear
a few songs Hodges and crew looked to each other to decide which song to do
next, one fan in the back shouted “Julius,” they met his request. Seeing the
quartet live, it is no wonder the majority of their shows have been sold out,
STRFKR sounds great live. If STRFKR finds their way to Western
NY again hopefully there will be a venue waiting for them that can
hold all of their fans.