On Wednesday night at Santos Party House, Portland’s Starfucker and Deelay Ceelay had the know-how to bring it hard. Through swells of energy and artificial smoke-clouds, they churned out three hours of electro-pop that kept each work-weary body in motion. With that distinctly odd feeling of concurrent skepticism and enticement, the two members of Deelay Ceelay took the stage and sampled everything from reggaeton to polka to T.I.’s “Whatever You Like,” all whilst a synched visual projection performed as a psychedelic backdrop to their performance. Markedly fierce tempo changes, clever, bassy transitions, and ample cowbell proved their art to be the perfect compliment to that of Starfucker. It was a jam session I felt inspired to be a part of.
Twenty minutes later, with Santos feeling twice as full, Josh Hodges, Ryan Biornstad, Shawn Glassford, and Keil Corcoran took the stage in ensembles that played homage to Wet Hot American Summer meets Kevin Barnes with a slumber party aesthetic. Awesome. They filled the room with heavy distortion and bass before segueing into exceptionally poppy (and Target commercial used) “Rawnald Gregory Erikson the Second.” The venue was conducive to Starfucker’s quirky sound, which flowed flawlessly from arena rock reverb to jolts of laser-crisp electro.
Fans nearly lost it when, in the midst of “Dance Face 2000,” frontman Biornstad stripped off his shirt and entered the crowd, one-upping each and every one of us with his irresistible moves. All smiles and handclaps from there on out, other crowd-pleasers included “Pop Song,” “Medicine,” and their infamous rendering of Cyndi Lauper’s “Girls Just Want to Have Fun,” (arguably my favorite cover of 2009 thus far). After roaring demand for a reprise, Starfucker returned to play the unusual ska-influenced “Laadeedaa” for their encore.
They manage to keep it endearing and bouncy without forfeiting an ounce of professionalism. This concoction is not easily achieved, but with their light-hearted Portland magic Starfucker punctuated several hundred New Yorkers’ weeks.