Show Review: STRFKR At Lee’s Palace

Story and Photos by Harry Myles, Feature Photo via The Line of Best Fit

Four astronauts walk on stage and stand in a line, staring at the crowd. Seconds later, the members of STRFKR emerge to take their positions and prepare for lift off. As the drum begins to beat, the band launches into their first of many synth-filled hits with an accompaniment of gyrating spacesuit-clad dancers in the background. For the next hour and a half, STRFKR would transform the packed Lee’s Palace into a celestial cove lost amongst the flashing LED light and galactic soundscapes.  

Kicking off the night, musical duo Psychic Twin enchanted the arriving crowd with their slow-fueled synth-pop set. Gigamesh followed with a handful of overblown DJ tracks that sparked to life with the occasional drum pad beat and Fleetwood Mac sample. However, it wasn’t until the main act took the stage that the small clumps of dancers expanded to the entire floor, as the audience grooved to STRFKR’s 80s-esque melodies from their 2016 release Being No One, Going Nowhere as well as 2013’s Miracle Mile.

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Featuring a bassist, guitarist, drummer, and lead vocalist, the Portland electronica quartet produced a mishmash of sounds ranging from the twang of slacker rock to the expansive tempo of dream pop with a splash of psychedelia. Although their lyrics became incomprehensible amongst the layers of synth and instrumentals, the band captured the crowd with their cosmic vibes. Poppy hits like “Malmö” from Miracle Mile and Being No One’s “Tape Machine” sparked the floor into a dancing frenzy while disco lights played across the ceiling and a wave of colour flashed along the back wall. Reminiscent of other sounds, it seems STRFKR has picked up sonic bits and pieces over the past ten years. As “Atlantis” played, I couldn’t help but be reminded of MGMT’s infectious progressions and with an array of bouncing keyboard solos, the likes of  Blood Orange came to mind.

As the set wound to a close, Cyndi Lauper’s timeless “Girls Just Want to Have Fun” soon blasted through the speakers and the astronauts reemerged, with one even leaping into the crowd for a surf across the outstretched hands. By the night’s end, Lee’s Palace had landed safely back on earth and the space dancers departed with the musical talent, although a whiff of feverish sound still floated upon the air, accompanying the crowd as they left the floor.

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