Articles tagged with Deelay Ceelay

Starfucker @ the Biltmore Cabaret, 10/10/09

Starfucker @ the Biltmore, 10/10/09
Who the hell left the heat on at the Biltmore? Last night I showed up at the venue an hour before Starfucker was scheduled to go on stage, and despite the fact that there were only a dozen or so people in the room, it felt like walking into a furnace. In fact, given that the bar is in the basement of the Biltmore Hotel, there’s a distinct possibility that there was indeed a furnace somewhere nearby.

As bad as it was for the audience, it must have been that much worse for the two dudes in opener Deelay Ceelay. A band consisting of a pair of drummers jamming to a electronic backing track, they spent the entire half-hour set hammering out floor-shaking dance beats, scarcely even pausing to wipe off the sweat that was pouring down their faces. Watching their tandem drumming was a bit like watching synchronized dancers (think of it as an electro version of Riverdance), and this hypnotic effect was intensified by the accompanying video, which was projected onto a white screen at the back of the stage. The group didn’t play structured songs, as the music functioned more as a soundtrack to the visual presentation. Still, the duo provide hooks in the form of samples—the Beach Boys‘ version of “Sloop John B.” and T.I.‘s “Whatever You Like” both worked their way into the mix.

Starfucker offered less eye candy than the opener, but the band’s no-nonsense performance was just as fun. From the joyous synths and disco beats of “Boy Toy,” which opened the set, to the trance-like refrain of closer “German Love,” good vibes were in plentiful supply. Even the punkish rock-outs of “Laadeedaa,” which on another night might have provoked moshing and headbanging, resulted in audience members doing the twist and performing campy lowrider dances.

Despite the upbeat tunes, the concert was given a slightly omninous atmosphere by the random snippets of talking that would play over the PA between songs. Frontman John Hughes also added to the weird-factor, spending much of the set staring blankly out over the audience with an absent expression in his eyes. Occasionally, however, he would break out in spastic fits of dancing, at one point spending several minutes in crowd.

The standout of the set was the bubblegum bounce of “Rawnald Gregory Erickson the Second,” during which circles of dancing opened up in the crowd and fans began play-boxing with complete strangers. (Full disclosure: those were my friends.) Still, the biggest cheers of the night were reserved for the group’s cover of Cyndi Lauper‘s “Girls Just Want to Have Fun,” which began with a sparse drum-and-bass arrangement before exploding into technicolor keyboards and breathy harmonies. It could have easily seemed gimmicky or cheap, but it was oddly sincere. Which is, of course, what makes Starfucker so good—the group is every bit as sugary as any prefab pop act, but it approaches every song with genuine sweetness and conviction.
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