There are two kinds of people at shows: People who make an effort to move, and people who stand in a stoic stance of nonchalance. This Tuesday (February 13) at Great Scott, the latter group of individuals stand a good chance of getting splattered with a mouthful of fake blood as Starcrawler take the stage.
“I think the guy [who got] the mouthful of blood was this photographer in San Francisco who Arrow [lead singer] was picking on,” recalls Austin Smith, Starcrawler drummer (and one of two band members beyond their teenage years). “Into the set she jumped into the audience kinda just messing with everyone, and for whatever reason, Arrow shoved and spit some blood in [a photographer’s] face and he got super upset.”
Well, you’ve been warned.
Starcrawler, one of L.A.’s burgeoning glam-garage acts — fittingly half made of literal high school dropouts for maximum retro authenticity — unleash your typical gritty adolescent insurrection on their 10-track self-titled debut, which dropped January 19. But in this particular case, the bunch of youngins, fronted by 18-year-old Arrow de Wilde, manage to look like a gang of runaways — maybe more so than the actual fucking Runaways — while demonstrating beyond-their-years proficiency in city slicker living and sexcapades (see “Pussy Tower”).
“I think the reason why we are able to gather and hold the attention of an audience is because audiences want some visual stimulation,” Smith says. “We’re able to hold them on both the visual and sonic elements of a performance and that’s why people come to see Starcrawler.”
The distinct focus on the band’s visual aspect even trickles down to their new album’s cover, which features Tuesday Hanson (Beck’s daughter, in case you’re unfamiliar with ’90s rockstar lineages) with blood streaked across her jowls, just like de Wilde can be found in almost every promo shot for the group.
“The album art came from this idea Arrow had about her on-stage persona,” he explains. “She was thinking of having the child’s version of her on stage character as the image of the record. After the band agreed on that, Arrow contacted Tuesday (de Wilde family friend) and that’s how it all came to be.”
Working with Ryan Adams over a couple months, Starcrawler translated their live magnetism into an LP whenever Adams had a free day at Pax-AM Studios. After chunks of tracking for a few days, then breaking for weeks at a time, the group completed their debut in roughly seven months, yielding the gutted guitar licks of “Tears” and sonically mesmerizing punch of “Chicken Woman.”
But the real wallop lies in Starcrawler’s penchant for live shock rock. Just make sure to know when to duck.
STARCRAWLER + SUNDOWN CLUB :: Tuesday, February 13 at Great Scott, 1222 Commonwealth Ave. in Allston, MA :: 8:30 p.m., 18-plus, $10 in advance and $12 at doors :: Bowery Boston event page :: Advance tickets :: Featured image via the artist