Live Review: STRFKR w/ Blackbird Blackbird @ Neptune Theater 2/26/13

Local Music, Live Reviews
Gerrit Feenstra
all photos by Brittany Brassell

Portland synth rock group STRFKR have pretty much always put on a great show. But Tuesday night's tour opener in support of new record Miracle Mile was an especially raucous occasion. As Tuesday was release day for the record, the band was a tad light on the Miracle Mile material, but with a back catalogue as strong as STRFKR's, no one was complaining. They blew through an awesome set spanning their entire collection and brought the house down. In addition, opener Blackbird Blackbird from San Francisco kicked the night off with a dance party straight out of the 80s. Material from their new EP Borocay Bay filled the house with waves of heavy drums and angelic guitars. Altogether, not a bad way to kick a tour off at all.

San Francisco experimental nu wave group Blackbird Blackbird had never played in Seattle prior to Tuesday night, but they made their first appearance in the rainy city count. Mikey Maramag's tunes have a groove that doesn't rush things. His tunes take their time and build and break down and breathe organically despite their computerized nature. Mikey and his band grooved for a solid 45 minute set through most of Borocay Bay and a handful of old tunes like "Hawaii". He set the pace perfectly for STRFKR to close the night and may have gained more than a few fans in the process.

Blackbird Blackbird:

STRFKR could do no wrong Tuesday night. For starters, the crowd had incredible energy. Between the band's psyched-out synth tunes and endless validation from the crowd, there was practically never a moment of silence the whole night. Opening with Miracle Mile track "Sazed", the band kicked straight into the heart of their sound. As has always been the case with STRFKR, the ecstatic groove on their album turns into a powerful arena-filling energy in the live setting - they have a serious knack for creating massive energy. Of course, the band (or the world) may not be ready for this kind of show yet, but when the time comes, STRFKR will be ready. Josh Hodges kept things pretty mellow onstage as a frontman, but the rest of the band livened up the stage. As always, girls were swooning left and right for bassist Shawn Glassford. During the encore, he did them all a favor and fell back onto the crowd while continuing to jam out on his bass. After cruising through an excellent mixture of new and old tunes, the band pulled out their ridiculous cover of "Girls Just Want to Have Fun" in the encore. With STRFKR, there never really is an end to the fun. It just keeps going and going until the band leaves the stage and the crowd tries to find the nearest drinking fountain.


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