Concert Review: Grouplove / Portugal. The Man / Starfucker (STRFKR) at Simon Estes Amphitheater – Des Moines, IA – August 27, 2014

Published by JB.

For a show that showcased quality bands playing completely out of proper order, a perfectly steamy night ended with Grouplove closing out the triple-threat gig that included an outstanding supporting cast of STRFKR and Portugal. The Man.

I sneeze and cough when I say STRFKR and Portugal. The Man opened for Grouplove.   That's not an indicment on Grouplove, but it's a testament to the outstanding grooves engineered by the two dynamic bands preceeding them. Portugal. The Man continue with their quasi-Black Keys-meets-Prince vibe while STRFKR continue to quietly dominate with thumping, midtempo, underground electronic dance grooves.   Put them together and you have some mad chemistry on your hands.  Two bands that look and sound nothing alike but are electrifying and magnetizing in dramatically different ways.

My complaint with STRFKR isn't their name (Honda denied advertising them on this tour since their real name is Starfucker), it's with their lackadasical onstage presence.   While I'm completely in tune with the "let's dress like we're broke and don't shower" that many bands find unrealistic solace in, STRFKR should be beyond this.   They've been around for years with a stellar catalog to go with it.   Onstage they kick out resonating grooves with the drippy demeanor of just burying their best friend's dog that they accidentally ran over.   It's time to bring more to the table. Thus, let me present you with Portuglal. The Man.

Grouplove is simply lightweight, catchy pop – where as Portugal. The Man is a creative and mesmerizing package of falsetto vocals, show-stealing stage presence and catchy, eclectic rock/funk jams.   Bathed in dark lights and steam machines they remained mysterious and stole the show from their counterparts on this night with relative ease.  How are they not headlining this tour?  

–TWTHS

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