It was Monday night and the motivation to leave the apartment was low. The Bachelorette (yes, I watch it, don’t judge me) and a Greek salad in my fridge were calling to me, but so was STRFKR at the Fine Line in Downtown Minneapolis. I downed a leftover Spotted Cow from my trip to Wisconsin for Eaux Claire festival and made my way down to the Fine Line for a Monday evening with STRFKR. Per usual, the evenings when my motivation and expectations are low, always end up being some of the best evenings of music. Monday night at the Fine Line with Reptaliens and STRFKR was just that, an unexpectedly perfect start to the week.
Opening up the evening around 8:45 was fellow Portland-based band Reptaliens (STRFKR also hails from Portlandia). Their name pretty much sums up exactly was this band is. Their set kicked off with a hologram-cape-and-lizard-mask-wearing creature appearing on a foggy stage, inviting the crowd to “leave behind the cares of daily life,” and travel onward and upward into the ether with Reptaliens. A dreamy, sci-fiy track mixed with the mystic dialogue sounding more like something from the start of Netflix’s latest show about time travel and aliens or the end of yoga class, rather than the start of a set at the Fine Line. It was something out of an acid trip (I would imagine). The theatrics of Reptaliens was not lost on the tie-dyed dawned crowd at Fine Line. Minneapolis seemed to be eating up every trippy, physcadelic, over-the-top weird moment of Reptaliens set. Perhaps the Leinenkugel’s Honey Weiss I was sipping on wasn’t a strong enough beverage of choice, but I actually found myself muttering, “what the fuck,” at one point during their set as a lizard-mask-wearing cloaked figured danced around the stage with a cross. Various alien masks and “Reptaliens Rule the Earth,” poster on stage aside, Reptaliens set was a blend of dreamy lo-fi synths, velvety smooth basslines, indiscernible lyrics – dreamy space pop meets Beach House. To say the set was off the wall would not being doing these guys justice, but musically – Reptaliens set definitely hit the mark and was the perfect warm up for STRFKR’s also psychedelic set.
At 9:55, about ten minutes after the scheduled start time, STRFKR took the stage to a pretty packed Fine Line. The crowd was ready to dance and party despite an early week show. STRFKR was joined on stage for portions of their set by astronaut helmet wearing dancers/hypemen. As the astronauts danced around the stage, the lcd lighted backdrop flashed patterns and colors, in signature STRFKR psychedelic style. It was clear that STRFKR has come along way from frontman Joshua Hodges’ days as STRFKR the solo project back in 2007. In addition to the astronauts Hodges was joined on stage by bassist/keyboardist Shawn Glassford and drummer Keil Corcoran.
The last time I saw these guys was at FYF Festival in Los Angeles probably three or four summers ago. Seeing them in the packed Fine Line was definitely a different experience but I was reminded of what a damn good band they are. For me, STRFKR was one of those bands that I fell in love with in college. They were another band for me that was definitely a gateway to so many other bands and different types of music – blending elements of neo-psychedelia, synthpop and jangly rock. Since my years out of college these guys sort of fell to the back of my musical anthology. But last night at the Fine Line STRFKR pulled out their classics that first made me fall so in love with this band – including Atlantis, While I’m Alive, and Rawnald Gregory Erickson the Second. They banged just as hard, sounded just as polished, and delivered their signature trippy, psychedelic, live show, drugs strictly optional.