Starfucker is on the road again. So is the Andy Aupperlee Explosion 5000. I recently caught the cleverly named poppers in both Seattle and Chicago. I saw Starfucker twice before on their Fall 2008 tour, once in Washington DC (blog post here) and again several weeks later in Seattle. Over the winter Starfucker added a full-time drummer, Keil of Guidance Counselor, and recorded an EP titled Jupiter.
Starfucker 2.0 is a major improvement. Readers of this blog and Blog Mule will note that I loved Starfucker in their 3-piece format. Adding Keil as a dedicated drummer frees up Shawn and Josh to contribute more live instrumentation to the performance. An additional keyboard or guitar allows the band to rely less on pre-recorded parts, significantly enhancing the energy of the show. Mix in an expanded repertoire and you’ve got a ripe version of Starfucker.
At the heart of Starfucker is multi-instrumentalism. Shawn, Ryan and Josh effortlessly glide between guitars, keyboards, turntables, vintage electronic equipment and percussion. At times the band is even comfortable using each hand to play a different instrument.
The Seattle leg of this Starfucker tour happened at the all ages Vera Project. The Vera can be a strange place to see a show. If the tweens aren’t feeling it, they’ll stand around awkwardly and maybe even sit down on the floor. Fortunately for Julie and me (both of us are a good decade+ beyond tweenhood), the crowd was ready to get rowdy.
The tweens got so carried away with Starfucker that they actually crowd surfed. Ryan, Starfucker’s frontman, felt the love and jumped into the audience himself.
I rolled into the Empty Bottle in Chicago with an entourage three cabs deep. I cruised over with Scott, an old Chicago pal, and an even older G Rap friend, Chris Brown (Vice President of Brown Industries). Fellow Loyola alumni Ross and Cara joined me, along with my brother Aaron, sister Betsy and cousin Derek. David and Austin, both of Seattle fame, were in town for the weekend and joined the throng. I even convinced Jon Caldwell and his lovely girlfriend, Dana, to get down to Starfucker.
Since I was surrounded by so many friends and family, I only took a few photos of the Chicago performance. I was too busy making sure the Aupperlees, the Loyola Ramblers, the Strengholts, the executives, the market makers, the Boeing employees and their muses were doing whatever you should do at Starfucker. Towards the end of the set, the Chicago crowd warmed up a bit and busted a move along with us. Ryan even jumped off the stage during “Medicine” and incited a small dance riot. Starfucker is a fun band that plays fun, clever music. Seldom do 10 of my friends, let alone from different geographies and backgrounds, all agree on music. Making an accountant, journalist, fashion designer, law student and Lynden native dance proves Starfucker must be on to something.
After the show I caught up with Ryan and Keil. They graciously signed a shirt and humored my stories about seeing them in different cities. Ryan even gave Chris a sincere consultation about which size t-shirt to buy. Can somebody please post photos of Chris wearing his new fashions at Gardellas? Since they are selling the not-yet-released-and-excellent Jupiter EP, a few of us picked up the new record too. Aaron promptly sat on his copy in the cab ride home and broke it—good thing I can send him the mp3s.
For more pictures from both Seattle and Chicago, visit my Flickr set—or watch the slideshow below. Also be sure to check out Julie Harmsen’s excellent photos from the Seattle show. Most of the photos featured here are shot with the Nikon D300 camera and the Nikon 50mm f/1.8 lens. At least one picture was composed with the Nikon 35mm f/1.8 DX and the extremely wide photos are courtesy of the Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8. To compensate for the low light, these lenses were shot wide-open with ISOs of 1600 to 3200.