Concert Review: Starcrawler / Amphette @ The Lost Horizon, 11/5/2022

SYRACUSE – Electric performer in constant motion out front.  Charismatic guitarist with a sly smile leading the band.  Second guitarist who occasionally sweetens the deal with some fine pedal steel.  Stoic bassist pinning it down.  Solid drummer driving it home.  Rocking songs.  Stylish performance.  Rolling Stones 1975?  …Nope, Starcrawler 2022 charging through a killer set Saturday night at The Lost Horizon in Syracuse.  Sixty years younger than The Stones and those gents never had pink amps!

Starcrawler (photo by Leif Zurmuhlen)

The borders of Nippertown needed to be expanded to catch one of the most exciting young bands now touring.  The Lost Horizon, a Syracuse landmark since 1976, is a club that has played host to legendary acts such as KISS, The Ramones, Neil Young, Foo Fighters, Black Sabbath, Fugazi, Soundgarden and many, many more (just check out the signed, framed 8×10 photos covering the walls).

LA’s Starcrawler is fronted by singer Arrow de Wilde, an elongated beauty in self-designed performance attire who prowls the stage like a punk rock praying mantis- a singing, screaming, growling, swirling fury of blonde hair and limbs.  I never had the chance to see a young Iggy Pop, but now I have seen Arrow de Wilde.  Incredible.  Sharp dressed guitarist Henri Cash accelerates headway into the banger “Roadkill” with his custom-made Parsons Bat guitar built by famed luthier Randy Parsons, which he plays with only three strings strung.  “Half the strings, half the brain power!”, Cash has explained, “Having three strings allows me to just play”.  Henri’s younger brother Bill Cash brings extra guitar texture with pedal steel additions to country-tinged rockers like “No More Pennies”.  Bassist Tim Franco and drummer Seth Carolina provide a powerful rhythm section for the throbbing “Bet My Brains”.  A wildly entertaining show.  With three studio albums: Starcrawler (2018), Devour You (2019) and the just released She Said (2022) this band just keeps upping their sonic game.

Arrow de Wilde of Starcrawler (photo by Leif Zurmuhlen)

Henri Cash (after the show): “I think attention to detail matters with everything, like our stage, our clothes, we want to put on a show, if we’re gonna charge you money to come see us we’re not gonna just stand there.  Every night is a different thing, you know?  Every show is gonna be different, so it’s got to be a show-not just playing songs.”

“My shirt is actually one that me and Arrow designed as a collaboration for H Bar C (western apparel), we sorta designed this shirt based on a couple of old shirts, then we sold a few, basically just so I could have some.  We played some shows with Jack White this year and we learned from him that when you walk into a hotel dressed in a suit you get treated way better than if you walk in with shorts and a t-shirt.”

Henri Cash of Starcrawler (photo by Leif Zurmuhlen)

“My mom always played country music, I love all types of music.  My uncle Brad Rice played with a bunch of country artists: Keith Urban, Tift Merritt, Son Volt.  I would see him come through with a bunch of cool stuff.  That was inspiring and Arrow’s dad played drums in a band called Beachwood Sparks.  We all kind of grew up around it and the ones that didn’t kind of found it.  Our drummer Seth is from North Carolina, his dad owned a biker bar, so he grew up around it too.”

“Some songs are way more rockin’ and some songs just come out with a more kinda twanginess.  You can’t really ever choose to write a song a certain way, like I can never sit down and be like-I’m gonna write a rock song or I’m gonna write a ballad, so it comes out the way it comes out. That’s what kinda happened with this record (She Said), we didn’t plan it.”

Piper Markowski (f) and Kailyn Leach of Amphette (photo by Leif Zurmuhlen)

Amphette, a Syracuse-based trio opened the show with Piper Markowski on bass and vocals, Liv Harvey on guitar and Kailyn Leach on drums, treating the club to some heavy sounds and cautionary tales.

Piper Markowski (before the show):  “We’re definitely Starcrawler fans, they’re really rad-I’m stoked!  I’ve heard their energy is insane, I’m so excited!”

“I say that our band is like sludgy punk, people try to call us Riot Grrrl and I don’t think that really fits.  We have a lot going on-some punk elements, but we’re really inspired by and big fans of nu metal.  I do harsh vocals and  I sing too, so it’s just kind of an amalgamation.  We come from the DIY space, so we play a lot of basements, we played a print shop one time, gymnasiums, we played an attic-it had spotlights!”

Liv Harvey of Amphette (photo by Leif Zurmuhlen)

“We have a single out right now “Meatgrinder” and our demo EP is getting mixed and mastered, so hopefully that should be out by the end of the month.”

“There’s not a lot of femme-fronted bands on the scene, let alone all femme.  We’ve had people come up to us who are jazzed about it.  We have a lot of personal songs, some about interactions that we’ve had with men and I feel it helps with it being an all femme lineup for those ideas to come across better and it feels like a safer space when we write, when we hang out.  Even in the crowds too, we can tell that people resonate and feel way more comfortable.  Whenever I see a front woman presenting on stage it makes me feel way more safe and seen.”

Photo Gallery of Starcrawler by Leif Zurmuhlen

Photo Gallery of Amphette by Leif Zurmuhlen

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