May 7, 2008
Stars, Stages, Kingston, 4 April 2008
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)
10. six stitches (talk)
11. Bitches In Tokyo
12. Set Yourself on Fire
13. seventy-five year old Ukrainian drag queen (talk)
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:
Be sure to pick up Stars albums, t-shirts etc. from their online store.