I vividly remember five years ago, a quartet of teens looking like the supporting cast of Todd Haynes’ Velvet Goldmine thrusting their way through a beyond-sold-out Kung Fu Necktie (and an exceptionally sweaty and crusty cast of punks there to see A Giant Dog) to take the stage of the Fishtown venue and kick out a brand of Rock N’ Roll jams that seemed to have been forgotten ever since emo became the official soundtrack of angsty teens. Ironically, one of the first major artists to take note of the band was My Chemical Romance frontman Gerard Way (in addition to Ryan Adams, who produced the band’s 2018 debut). The band was LA’s Starcrawler, an amalgam of power pop, glam, and basically everything the Bowery scene had to offer throughout the last quarter of the 20th Century.
Starcrawler has since headlined equally sweaty shows at Johnny Brenda’s and Boot & Saddle, and released three full-length LPs, most recently She Said, which was produced by Tyler Bates and dropped this September on Big Machine Records. Tonight Starcrawler headline their biggest Philly date yet at Underground Arts, and over the weekend I got a chance to chat with lead vocalist Arrow de Wilde, possibly the most charismatically aggressive and aggressively charismatic frontperson of her generation, but of charmingly few words. “I really like Philly… We’ve played there a good amount of times,” she tells me when I ask her of her memories of the city, admitting that, in true Rock N’ Roll fashion, the band rarely has time to see much beyond the venues of any given city.
Like most albums to drop in the past year, Arrow tells me that, with She Said, the band didn’t feel quite as much pressure as with previous releases: “We kinda got to take more time with this album and figure out each song, because we didn’t have a deadline.” She also tells me that getting to work with Tyler Bates – best known for his horror film scores and time in Marilyn Manson’s band – was a really great and inspiring experience: “Working with Tyler is amazing. He’s a super cool guy, super chill, and super fucking talented.”
Starcrawler have spent much of 2022 on the road, both in America and Europe, including their current US jaunt, which kicked off a month ago. And Arrow tells me that their fans have really been turning up and making them feel good about their latest sounds: “The shows have been really good so far. They’ve just been really fun for the most part… The crowds have been really fun and everyone’s been really excited for them.” And, in-between gigs, she tells me they’ve been enjoying the sounds of their friends The Paranoyds and Amyl And The Sniffers (whose latest albums have been in heavy rotation with the Starcrawler crew) and a staring game that they recently invented that involves a chime, but which apparently needs to be seen to be explained. Arrow tells me that Starcrawler are hoping to continue touring into next year. However, when I ask her what can be expected of the live experience tonight, she laughs and tells me, “I don’t want to give anything away!”
*Get your tickets here.