Eccentric STRFKR brings flair, energy to Jefferson
Group looks to gain popularity with powerful performances
I’m not sure what I was expected when I walked into the Jefferson Theater last week for the STRFKR concert, but whatever it was was miles away from what I found. Dancing onstage were two people wearing white bunny costumes, another person in a bear costume and one lucky guy rocking a horse costume. And let’s not forget the astronaut that caught me by complete surprise when he blasted into a crowdsurf on a blow-up raft. As if this wasn’t bizarre enough, the male lead singer donned a dated Sunday dress and was coordinating the entire effort.
STRFKR tracks are uniquely at home on both a laid-back summer drive and on a crowded, energized dance floor. The beats are heavy, the keyboard compositions are catchy and captivating, and the soft and patient vocals of lead singer Joshua Hodges, otherwise known as Sexton Blake, allow the music to slow down and breathe.
Opening act Chrome Sparks set the scene with fast-paced electronic compositions and the brilliant use of samples – quite the hit even after a 45-minute stint, setting a mood full of palpable energy. Even so, after much anticipation, the crowd went wild as STRFKR took the stage. To keep the head-bobbing, dance-worthy mood alive, STRFKR began their set with the utterly floor-shaking hit “While I’m Alive.” Adding about a hundred multi-colored balloons and a rain of confetti, the main act had arrived on the scene successfully with loud flair.
In fact, the concert altogether could be considered an aggressively and beautifully loud affair. A noticeably heavy bass shook the room and commanded the audience’s attention, especially when accented by the corresponding images on the screen behind the band, which cast a colorful, mysterious glow on the scene. Even Sexton, ordinarily the band’s subtlest ingredient, displayed unapologetic confidence, strutting about in his dress with vibrant urgency and bobbing his head while jamming out atop amps.
I was pleasantly surprised by how cohesively all the elements of the performance came together. Even for an audience that came for the handful of songs they actually knew well, the celebratory vibe was just contagious enough for the crowd to lose themselves in almost every song. The audience members who knew little of the main act would, however, finally be appeased when Sexton and company rejoined for the encore, which featured two of their biggest hits, namely, “Rawnald Gregory Erickson the Second” and a cover of “Girls Just Want to Have Fun,” sending the concert off on an animated and playful note.
For those who witnessed it, the show was undoubtedly a ringing success, but I can’t help but wonder how much more memorable Saturday night would have been if the Jefferson were filled to the brim with excited fans. For all the enthusiasm brought forth by the crowd up front, the concert floor was still anything but packed, peppered with confused parents accompanying middle school children and groups that appeared disappointingly out of touch and unenthused. It was almost too evident that STRFKR is still somewhat of an undiscovered musical gem. If anybody at the performance left with the same sort of euphoria that I did, however, it shouldn’t be long before STRFKR attains their much-deserved fame.