We Went There: Operators at Turf Club
Leave it to Dan Boeckner to somehow pull off a double encore at a show with a 40% full Turf Club. Generally I despise one encore, let alone two, but Boeckner clearly felt the love for his latest project and delivered a fun, poignant and ramshackle show that highlighted why he is so beloved by his fans.
Operators are a logical extension from his Handsome Furs project that disbanded when his real life relationship with the other half of the duo, his then wife Alexei Perry, fell apart. The music they made, a weird-yet-workable mix of Springsteen-esqe wide-eyed songwriting and minimalist 80s synth pop, has continued into the Operators project that just released their second LP, Radiant Dawn. For Operators live shows, Boeckner again plays guitar and sings, supported by Devojka on synths and his Divine Fits buddy Sam Brown on live and electronic drums. Despite some midi syncing issues, the band played a set that was equal parts commanding and loose, with Boeckner seeming to brush off the frustration coming from his synth player and instead basking in the crowd’s vocal support.
The band played a mix of songs from their two releases, leaning more from their latest release, with some surprise Handsome Furs cuts thrown in for good measure. (A quick google search after the show highlighted it wasn’t a surprise he was playing these songs, but in typical Reviler fashion I hadn’t even done that much legwork before heading into the show.) The 14-song set included some of my favorite Handsome Furs songs (“I’m Confused” in the main set and “Serve the People” as the one-song second encore), which blended well with the new material. The band was backed by projected videos that bounced between psychedelic artwork and what looked like footage from people on the streets of a Russian or Eastern European city. The visuals added a nice touch and complimented the set well.
Despite being the band I knew least about out of the five Boeckner bands I’ve spent time with, his magnetic stage presence and songwriting chops were easily enough to make this a fun, worthwhile show. It was the smallest crowd I’ve seen for a Boeckner show, but what the crowd lacked in size they made up for in enthusiasm, showing love for an artist whose impressive track record continues to grow. It’s a testament to the dedication when the crowd is smaller but a good chunk head back to the merch table when the set ends. It was definitely one of those nights.
Check out a full photo set from Chris HERE.
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