From Push Star to Superstar
Trapper, the lead singer of the Boston-based Push Stars, brought his month-long solo acoustic tour to Club Passim in Harvard Square for two sold-out shows last Sunday. While bandmates Dan McLoughlin and Ryan MacMillan listened from the audience, Trapper wowed his audience of Push Stars-devotees with both new songs and old standards.
Despite a slight technical difficulty with his “circa 1982...Depeche Mode” keyboard (it died) during “Last Night’s Dream,” Trapper managed a near-perfect set. The keyboard he found in his attic was not the only surprise instrument that Trapper pulled out during his Passim stint—warning the audience that he was “about to prove how much of a white-trash hick I am,” Trapper risked “be[ing] kicked out of the band” and backed the usually raucous “Minnesota” with a simple banjo. Trapper’s fast fingers and mastery of the instrument left the audience hoping for future banjo performances.
Without the band backing Trapper, many other Push Stars songs sounded different—but fantastic. “Drunk is Better Than Dead,” one of the Push Stars’ more raucous tracks, usually finds a guest trombonist on stage with the band. Instead, at Passim, Trapper introduced the song saying, “Nobody believes you could write a fratboy anthem on an acoustic guitar.” It worked well. Still, witnessing Trapper attempting to perform all parts of “Any Little Town”—including backup vocals—was a singular experience.
Every performance has a show-stopping moment, and Trapper’s was when he sang his newest song, “Starlight.” An autobiographical story of homesickness and missing the girl he left behind, “Starlight” had many girls (and some guys—though they’ll never admit it) in tears. “Starlight” is the kind of song every girl wants written about her:
“She’s the kind of girl who’ll feed the hunger in your soul / And pick your broken pieces up / And try to make you whole / And when she walks into a crowded room you will know she has arrived / ’Cause her dress should be arrested / And there’s starlight by her side.”
McLoughlin and MacMillan joined Trapper on stage (much to their surprise) for the fourth of his six(!) encore songs, “Miracle.” Their playing was a treat that reminded the audience that despite Trapper’s phenomenal performance as a solo artist, he is even better when joined by his fellow Push Stars. In the Push Stars’ “Who We Are,” Trapper sings, “The singer thinks he’s a superstar.” Indeed.