With a name as bold as STRFKR (formerly Starf–ker), you know right off the bat that these guys are setting out to make an impression. And by golly, did they leave an impression at their Union Transfer show with Psychic Twin Nov. 29.
STRFKR are just coming off the release of their fifth studio album, “Being No One, Going Nowhere,” released Nov. 4. The album, if slightly less memorable than their previous releases, maintains the fun, danceable synth pop stylings that STRFKR fans know and love so dearly.
Opening for STRFKR were indie duo Psychic Twin and Minneapolis-based disc jockey Gigamesh. I’ll admit that Gigamesh was not exactly my style, but I was very impressed by Psychic Twin.
Psychic Twin, a relatively new act, released their debut full-length album “Strange Diary” Sept. 9. The album was produced by Jacob Portrait (STRFKR, Unknown Mortal Orchestra), so it’s no wonder that they’re on tour with such a big name as STRFKR.
I had never listened to their music before the concert, but I became a fan very fast. Their twinkling melodies shimmered around and resonated throughout the packed Union Transfer crowd. Lead vocalist Erin Fein had a beautiful voice, and it sounded perfectly at home coupled with the arpeggiated synth runs and electric drums.
Their music reminded me a bit of Beach House, but with more of an upbeat pulse. They sound like they draw inspiration from the likes of Cocteau Twins, but they apply a modern take to the classic indie group. I’m a big fan of dream pop, so I was elated to discover a great new act to follow. My favorite song of their set was probably “Strangers.”
After Psychic Twin and Gigamesh finished their sets, STRFKR took the stage, sometime around 10:15 p.m. It was getting late, but STRFKR is the kind of music that’s best listened to at nighttime.
STRFKR opened with the ridiculously fun “Pop Song,” off their 2008 debut “Starf–ker.” The lead singer was dressed in drag, complete with a dress and wig, while four or five dancing astronauts danced around on the stage among the band members. It was completely absurd, but so much fun, especially with the spectacular light show that they had.
The astronauts disappeared after about four songs, but that wouldn’t be the last we saw of them. They plowed through song after song after song, and I was amazed at the amount of fun I was having. They played a lot of songs, but there was never a dull moment.
Every single song STRFKR played was fun, which is really impressive for a band to pull off. Most bands start and end their set with their most fun songs, with energy dipping a bit in the middle of the set, but STRFKR seemingly kept the energy at the same level the whole night.
They played one of their most popular songs, “Rawnald Gregory Erickson the Second,” smack dab in the middle of their set. It was fun to have everyone singing along, but I honestly had more fun during songs like “German Love,” “Bury Us Alive,” “Reptilians” and the newer “Open Your Eyes.”
Towards the end of their 24-song set, they played “Boy Toy,” off their 2009 album “Jupiter.” This was hands down my favorite song of the evening. They went all out, with the dancing astronauts returning to the stage and flying a light-up drone around the venue. It was wild.
They also pulled out their trademark cover of Cyndi Lauper’s “Girls Just Want to Have Fun,” which was an absolute delight. During their encore, they played my favorite song of theirs, “Julius.” I was beside myself, dancing like a fool and screaming along: “fall into your eyes.”
I’m happy that I got to experience STRFKR live, because their show is a really fun time and musically, they really nail it. If you’re a fan of synth-heavy alternative (similar to Passion Pit), I implore you to check out STRFKR. And if you like dream pop bands like Fear of Men or Alvvays, Psychic Twin might be up your alley.