The tweens are out in full-on prepubescent rage Saturday night at the White Rabbit. Locals Starluck headline a bill packed with 20 other bands for the Come and Take It compilation release. Awash in a sea of faux-hawks, I drift to the stage and find a clear observation spot. Let me tell you, this is the kind of show where the old scene veterans look out at the crowd then bury their heads in their hands and ask, “Where did it all go wrong?”
Starluck opens their set with “Number 1 Fan,” an upbeat song that immediately sends the audience into a frenzy. Starluck is the latest band to exploit the Auto-Tune trend for their brand of rock-infused electro-pop. Most of the people up front seem to know every single word. By their second song, “Show You a Good Time,” singer Robbie Butler has the entire room jumping in unison. Butler moves to the side of the stage to share the mic with keyboardist Albert Frost for a quick bit of banter. After a brief Vanilla Ice interlude, Starluck moves into “Tell Me If It Hurts,” a catchier number that seems suited for teen-movie montages. It’s a good-enough tune that would’ve been better without lyrics like “I love being flirty when it makes you feel dirty.” Toward song’s end, drummer Will Mayo shifts into a half-time beat that breaks up the repetition. “Tell Me” is followed by another interlude, this a time a remix of the Tetris theme “Korobeiniki,” which appeals to my inner retro-gamer, though not in the ironic way they probably intended. It was actually my favorite part of the evening and made me wish they’d just structure a legitimate song around the beat.
Following that fun reworking, “Pink Cherry Blossom” is a bit of a letdown. While guitarist Chris Blackmon plays, guitarist David Martinez spends most of the song staring into his amp, appearing to have some technical difficulties. Martinez attempts to push his through, but can’t seem to get his guitar to play properly, making the whole thing a mess, as if each of them are playing a different song completely independent of the other. They recover well with “No. 5,” which opens with Frost playing an infectious keyboard riff. This song comes together a lot better than the others, and the Auto-Tune sounds more appropriate here, meshing rather well with the song’s quasi-R&B slant. Closer “Hollywood Fersure” isn’t particularly noteworthy, save for the riff from Danzig’s “Mother” that Blackmon plays almost incessantly throughout the entire song.
Ultimately, Starluck is a young band that may have potential but just isn’t delivering on it yet. The audience appeared to be having the time of their lives, and Starluck provided a great vehicle for these young kids to put aside the school week and indulge a fun show without really having to pay too much attention to a message of any particular depth. While mindless music can be entertaining, and it certainly has its place, entertainment doesn’t always translate to quality. I’d recommend these guys listen to more Hellogoodbye and less Breathe Carolina. Sincerity can go a long way toward achieving artistic credibility. — Steven Gilmore