Starfucker, Half/Yogurt, Saturday @ the VERA Project
I only caught a little more than half of Half/Yogurt's opening set. Half-Yogurt, according to the show's billing featured "members of PWRFL Power"; in fact, like PWRFL Power, Half/Yogurt featured only adorable guitar phenom Kaz Nomura, playing instrumental songs on electric guitar that he'd half written that morning and half improvised on the spot. The songs had long, cutesy, funny titles like, "Everyone Thinks Their Pets Are the Cutest, But They All Look the Same to Me," "She Tells Me She Is Broke More Often Now 'Cause I have Given Her $50 Out Of the Blue In the Past," and "Hey, Girl, Why Did You Invite Me Into the Bathroom and then Urinate in Front of Me?"
That last one, Nomura explained, was inspired by actual events that went down the night before at Shorty's. Apparently, in the first part of the set, he'd eaten some spoonfuls of yogurt, spilling some, and now he observed, "I thought I could drink yogurt like water, but it's actually drying my throat." He explained how one of his songs revolved around and departed from a simple, three-chord theme. He said, "This is my second time performing as Half/Yogurt, and every time it gets...(long pause)...dreamier, I guess?" The actual songs were pretty dreamy, with Nomura alternately playing seated on his amp or standing, one moment picking out delicate melodies and strumming odd chords, another shredding up and down the fret board with spidery, precisely tapping fingers. He concluded the set by saying that he had no shirts or cds to sell for Half/yogurt, but that he'd be selling his guitar for $700.
Next, hot-shit Portland trio Starfucker handily lived up to their growing hype (and have caused me to reconsider their debut album with more enthusiasm). Obviously, Im a sucker for the foul-mouthed bandsFuck, the Fucking Champs, Fuck Buttons, Holy Fuck, I love you allbut Starfucker are much more than an eye-grabbing moniker. The band began their set with two members making looped ambient noise for several minutes (here they resembled Holy Fuck in more than just profanity) before their third member joined them at an electric piano, the noise ebbed, and they launched into one of their filtered, off-kilter, feedback-riddled pop songs.
They played several songs off of their self-titled debut album, including highlights Florida, German Love, Laadeedaa, and Rawnald Gregory Erickson the Second, enlivening them with dual drumming, live loops, and vocals so filtered and processed that their between song banter was almost incomprehensible.
A lot of bands try really hard, too hard, to be funthey wear silly costumes, write willfully stupid songs, beam big stage smilesbut Starfucker are just genuinely fun (though not without silly outfits), burying funky drum breaks under catchy melodies and playing with an infectious overabundance of energy (the bassist/drummer, when playing a drum beat that didnt require all his limbs, would stomp the floor with his extra foot or beat inaudibly on a practice pad with his spare drumstick; the guitarist ditched his instrument to bust some goofy dance moves that look like they were honed by battling with Panther and YACHT). They elicited more inspired dancing than Ive seen at the VERA for a while. I hope they come back to Seattle soon.