Sofi Tukker is everything people like about good wine: a sassy white, a bold red, a bubbly rosé, but mostly fun and delicious.
(My alternate lede for this article was “Move over Taylor Swift! There’s a new “fearless” band in town, and it’s Sofi Tukker.” You’re welcome.)
I first encountered ST when I heard “Best Friends” on the radio, but I didn’t become a fan until I heard “Batshit” on this iPhone 8 commercial that legitimately excites me:
But, it wasn’t until seeing them live that I understood what ST is actually about: unadulterated nonsense.
The stage was decorated like a neon tropical forest. Sophie came out wearing a nude bodysuit, long white gaucho pants, and gray gym shoes. Tucker donned custom Sofi Tukker leggings underneath green gym shorts and a white muscle tee. Throughout the show, they added neon, multicolored rain coats, and, at one point, Sophie put on a sheer cape. They came to have fun, and they dressed for the part.
The best part about this show and ST in general was that you can tell Sophie and Tucker weren’t trying to “perform.” Were they performing? Yes. Were they overthinking it? No. They went out and were themselves, and that’s why the audience — and the country — glom onto them so hard even though they only have one album and two singles out.
And when I say the country gloms on, I mean the whole, entire country.
This audience had everyone from 12-year-old girls whose favorite song in the whole entire world ohmigosh is “Best Friend” to 20-30-year-old guys in polo shirts and sweater vests (I swear) to upper-middle aged men. I even saw one couple that had to be north of 65, and even they were jumping up and down to the beat. Sofi Tukker is infectious.
The opener, Kah-lo, did a great job at getting the energy up for the main act, and LP Giobbi, ST’s DJ who played after Kah-lo, kept the vibes going, but nothing compared to the main act itself. Perfectly high-energy from beat one, ST started the show with tracks off their album before going into new tunes they wrote while on the road. And the audience didn’t miss a beat; everyone was perfectly on ST’s wavelength the entire show, and here’s why:
They’re a duo.
There’s no Beyonce in this Destiny’s Child. There’s no Justin Timberlake in this N’SYNC. There’s no George Michael in this Wham! There’s Sophie Hawley-Weld, and there’s Tucker Halpern, and together they make Sofi Tukker.
When the show first started, it seemed like Sophie was taking the lead, but the vibe switched almost exactly halfway through to being more focused on Tucker. They play off each other amazingly well, and they each add their own special elements to the act. Sophie gets at the crowd with her unbearably infectious smile and literal touchy-feely performing style (check those crowd-surfing pics), and Tucker slays with his undeniable energy that you can’t help but follow.
And they both — for lack of a better word — perform. With electronic shows, there’s never any telling how much of the show will be computerized, but ST got it just right. The backing tracks were recorded, but Tucker managed them onstage. Both Sophie and Tucker sang beautifully, and Sophie jammed on a sick white triangle guitar.
The band finished their set only to be cheered on by what has to be one of the best and most involved audiences I’ve ever heard. They quickly came back onstage and finished out their encore with Sophie’s acoustic version of September’s “Cry For You” — which, according to Tucker, was chosen to give Sophie retribution for always making fun of him for his love of early-2000s electro-pop — followed by “Drinkee,” the song that propelled them to fame.
I love that they chose an “embarrassing” cover song for their penultimate tune, because it proves that they really are just having fun. They don’t have some alternate agenda. They’re not in it for the perks; they’re in it because they’re best friends.