May 7, 2008

Stars, Stages, Kingston, 4 April 2008

Posted in bootleg, mp3 at 12:34 pm by rgsc

photo of Stars at the Bronson Centre, Ottawa on April 3, 2008 by Lenny W.

When you see Stars perform you should expect the following things: dreamy eye-d songs of booze, sex, death, etc.; intimacy no matter how large the room is; some political commentary mixed with personal and often amusing stories; great harmonies & lushness all around. On their recent stop in Kingston a month ago they delivered on all fronts.

While I wasn’t immediately taken with “In the Bedroom…”, as I was with “Heart” & “Set Yourself on Fire”, I have certainly grown to appreciate it after a few listens. Their sound has evolved – becoming fuller, more dramatic, and, in many ways, more diverse – but they have kept what makes them unique firmly in place . There is romance and passion which informs their music in a way that evades being trite.

Seeing the best of their new songs performed live, they make even more sense. A little of the album’s polish is removed and the songs become even more immediate. The interplay between Campbell and Millan hasn’t dulled with time – if anything it has become more refined and more complex. Put side by side with their older material onstage, it fit right in: the all-important tone of the songs is consistent even if the variety sounds used in their construction have expanded.

Of the four (or so) time’s I’ve seen Stars perform, I think this was the best. The setlist was great, with a good selection and excellent pacing; the sound was superb; the audience interaction was fun and not overwhelming or preachy. In fact, if it weren’t for something that was entirely out of the bands control (see below) I would say that this was one of the better concerts I’ve seen so far this year. They have a few festival dates coming up and, if you have the chance, I recommend you seeing them for yourself.

Saturday June 7th, 2008 Toronto, ON – Olympic Island
Friday June 20th, 2008 Winnipeg, MB – Jazz Winnipeg Festival – Pantages Playhouse Theatre
Saturday June 21st, 2008 Vancouver, BC – The Malkin Bowl – Stanley Park

For your listening pleasure I have a few songs from this set. For the full thing keep reading. Enjoy

Stars, Stages, Kingston, 4 April 2008

1. The Beginning After the End
2. The Night Starts Here
3. Elevator Love Letter
4. election (talk)
5. Soft Revolution
6. Window Bird
7. One More Night
8. sad fact (talk)
9. Reunion
10. six stitches (talk)
11. Bitches In Tokyo
12. Set Yourself on Fire
13. seventy-five year old Ukrainian drag queen (talk)
14. Personal
15. Going, Going, Gone
16. What I’m Trying to Say
17. the best night in Kingston to get laid (talk)
18. Midnight Coward
19. Your Ex-Lover Is Dead
20. how many? (talk)
21. Ageless Beauty
22. class trip (talk)
23. In Our Bedroom After The War
24. let’s play some more (talk)
25. Take Me To The Riot
26. another survey (talk)
27. My Favourite Book
28. Calendar Girl
29. The Woods

I haven’t posted the full set here, just some highlights. If you dig what you hear and are a fan I encourage you to download the entire set. I must warn you, however, that around the fourth song an extraordinarily inconsiderate individual perched her fat ass in front of the bunch of us who got their early enough to have a spot where we had amazing site lines. Indeed, we have a perfect view of the stage until she came around and then all we got was a view of the back of her big stupid head. Since, as you might expect, no one around me appreciated this, there is an understandable amount of profanity, threats of violence and schemes to encourage/force this fool down. She finally moved after about four songs later (and it was a good thing, too, as someone behind me was starting to throw things at her and i think things could only have escalated from there). Anyway, to end a long story, the recording is marred for the first while because of this nonsense. There is some chatter and a fair bit of singing along in other spots but otherwise i think it sounds pretty good. If you want the full set you can get it here:

Stars-Kingston-4April2008 (Megaupload)

Be sure to pick up Stars albums, t-shirts etc. from their online store.

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5 Comments »

  1. matt said,

    hey mr bootlog, thanks for this. re – big stupid head, there seems to be one person whose sole function at any show i go to is to piss me off by getting in the way/talking during the songs etc etc. rant over lol

  2. Mark said,

    I hear you about the big head person. The past couple shows my fiance and I have attended, the one tall guy in the audience seems to seek us out and stand right in front of us.

    Stars handled what could have been a disastrous night. The last night of Queen’s exams, kids were looking to get drunk and trashed. However, the band members rolled with the punches and provided an entertaining show on all accounts.

    I was kind of worried that Torquil would lose it after an earlier show his band Memphis did at the Grad Club a couple years back. Two guys thought it would be great to go to a quiet, art rock show and discuss their mortgages. Needless to say, it was extremely annoying and Torque wasn’t about to take it. He constanly did battle with the ignorant young me all evening, finally winning out for the enjoyment of all who came to listen to the show.

    Just further evidence Kingston needs a mid-sized music venue dedicated to just that: live, independent, preferably Canadian music.

  3. rgsc said,

    Hey Matt – you’re welcome. and there is always one (if not 100) in every crowd, eh. Sometimes violence feels like the most appropriate way to deal with these people. But usually I just go thepassive aggressive route with extremely dirty looks – but a well placed elbow now and then has conveyed my displeasure when necessary.

    Hey Mark – They did put on a classy show all ’round – and to be fair the crowd was pretty good, all things considered (could have been a lot worse – Kevin Drew at the end of winter exams was pretty bad).

    It wasn’t just that the person was in the way (i’m a tall guy – hopefully I’m not the one who seems to find you – and I try to be respectful, standing a little further back, against a wall or pillar and always let shorter people ahead of me (if they are polite about it anyway)). You know the venue: we were stage right, where the “stages” are in front of the booths at the rail. This idiot was on the floor below, hoisted herself up onto the rail so even I couldn’t see, much less the 5foot tall girl beside me. We were there well before Gentleman Reg hit the stage because I wanted a view. this moron shows up 3 songs into Stars and then doesn’t even have the sense to shut up and watch the show. Argh! I know it ain’t a symphony but is a little courtesy too much to ask.

    Heh. I was at that memphis show (songs from it can be found here). that was a freaking trainwreck.

    And I second your motion re: more venues. I love the artel & the grad club but they are too small. I’m not fond of the elixir but they did get good acts there back in the day and they can pack a ton of people in there.

  4. mjrc said,

    i saw stars about three years ago, opening for death cab, and at the time i think i was one of the only people in the place who knew them (this was in philadelphia). it’s a lot different now i’ll bet.

    as far as tall people go, i know they have as much right to be up front as the rest of us, it’s just mildly frustrating to have to crane your neck. it’s the rudeness of the pushy drunk ones that really gets me mad.

    i’ve gone toe-to-toe with some really drunk young women at more than one show–had to pull out my mom voice and get very firm! i used to be more passive-aggressive but as i get older, i tend to take less shit from people. 🙂

  5. Ming Wu said,

    Hey
    I just surfing around and happened to find this.

    Noticed the photo my brother took at the Stars show

    What a show and glad we waited in line VERY early and got upfront to the stage.


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