Making a return to the NorVa after opening for M83 in 2016 on their first ever tour, Sofi Tukker displayed a strut last night that is well earned. I was impressed back then, but today the group is a powerhouse in their own right, developing new artists with their self-made label -- Animal Talk Collective.
They've been featured heavily by Apple in iPhone release spots and landing a single on Netflix superhit, Orange Is The New Black, netted the group a Grammy nod. This is first and foremost a band that has done well for themselves through hard work and perseverance. One of those rare stories where you just want them to succeed because they’re so authentic and sweet.
They've put effort into building up a tenacious connection with their audience and it shows. Sophie Hawley-Weld fearlessly breaks the fourth wall, crossing the pit to physically contact their fans to great effect. A Sofi Tukker gig is about redefining boundaries between artist and audience. It’s about celebration. It’s about love and life. And underneath it all? It’s about shaking booty.
More than anything else, my brain immediately wants to recall the Eurythmics when examining this duo. It’s not necessarily a relevant comparison — Annie Lennox was never as warm as Sophie is with her people. The Eurythmics were possessed of an ironic detachment that simply doesn’t exist here, but there are certain aesthetic similarities. Bit's and pieces of the electronica echo the early days of the genre. Certainly, elements of Tucker Halpern carries a bit of the collected cool, mysterious air and swagger that David Stewart pulled off back in the day, but there's an endearing goofiness with his and Hawley-Weld's interactions that just makes you deeply care about their well being. This is music that generally wouldn't find a spot on my playlist, and yet I'm listening to it over and over again because of the infectious charm that's infused here. It also doesn't hurt that Sophie shreds on her guitar -- something you generally don't expect to find in the genre of dance music. In fact, I'd put her in the same class as St. Vincent. And that's not easy company in which to hold your ground. It'd be dynamic to see the two tour together, and I suspect a spotlight where they played on the same track would be earthshaking.
Crush Club blew my mind as well. Front-person TC Milan recalled a bit of Freddie Mercury to my eye -- not only through the righteous stache but also just in the swagger brought to bear onstage. Nikki B's vocals were breathtaking, and gunslinger Le Chev laid down a thunder groove on four strings. Throw in DJ sets from rock and roll disco queen, LP Giobbi? You've got a four hour nonstop dance party that electrified the soul and brought us all higher.
Not a bad way to spend a night. Get thee to this show if it comes round near ya.
New York. Electronica / Experimental.
New York. Dance Pop.
Rock and Roll Disco.