Published by JB on May 7, 2016
Review: STRFKR & Com Truise & Fake Drugs at Woolys in Des Moines, IA. – May 6, 2016
A blitzkrieg of soaring synthesizers, bubbly bass guitars (well, I did see one) channeled with head-bobbing, mid-tempo grooves and some occasional indecipherable, inconsequential lead vocals provided the raucous atmosphere at Woolys in Des Moines. Woolys is actually sizeable, and can hold its own for acoustics. It’s prime spot #1 in the state’s capital for indie-pop browsing, and STRFKR played a frantic set of 23 songs in 90 minutes. That’s a hell of a pace. It was more like a 90 minute medley. I can’t recall if some tracks were played in full but many felt abbreviated. Idle chit-chat in between the songs was nearly non-existent as sounds emulating from the synths occupied even the rare dead space.
STRFKR above all things else, is a wonderful platform for the vastly under-rated songwriting skills of lead man Joshua Hodges. Every new STRFKR’s album gets better as Hodges’ increasingly complex melodies walk the fine line between chillwave and dancefloor deadly. Past and current tracks such as ‘German Love’, ‘Biggie Smalls’ and ‘Golden Light’ demonstrate the difference between STRFKR and other synth/dance heavy acts like Passion Pit or the increasingly odd MGMT. STRFKR has etched its own tight little spot of current indie lore. Nobody sounds like them.
Opening with a brief, innocuous 25 minute set from Fake Drugs and an all-too-long 70 minute set (with all the tracks being merely instrumentals – it wears thin after 30 minutes) from Com Truise, the night began modestly. Truise delivers but his stage presence is merely a man looking at a MacBook for half the show. How about you just give me a CD and we’ll call it even sir?
But STRFKR was the show. Pacing away at one track every four minutes for the entire set was a blessing more bands should follow. Varying the set with tracks from all four LP’s (including brand new material) Hodges found himself effortlessly multi-tasking. A few tracks on drums, a few tracks playing guitar and most of the time Hodges was hanging out at home plate on the synth. He’s expressionless but talented. He conveys a slacker persona yet he makes music that at times is simply riveting. Hodges was the MVP of the night and he cascaded sounds around Woolys that only a few bands have ever matched there.