Stars w/ Said The Whale @ Commodore -- 04/06/13

It seems like it's been a while since I saw Stars headline a show of their own, and they were back in Vancouver for a pair of shows -- one afternoon all ages show, and an evening 19+ -- with the themes Sex & Death to celebrate the release of their latest album, The North.
And as they wrapped up the tour, they added Vancouver favourites as the opening act, making it quite a nice double bill.

Due to some vehicular problems, I missed about half of Said the Whale's opening set, coming in right at the crescendo of "Big Sky MT".
The indie-pop five pieced was glad to be in front of the hometown crowd, full of energy and getting the enthusiastic crowd clapping along to "This City's a Mess". They also played some new songs, including one that I was quite fond of, a fast paced rocker to end off the set with a bang.

Dressed with a twinge of 80s fashion, Stars took the stage to a disco song before launching into the first track off their new album The North, "The Theory of Relativity".

What I love about watching the band live is their intensity. Especially Amy, with her beautiful voice and great energy (even throwing in a few rock star high kicks), but especially Torquil, who is just as intense when he is singing as when he is simply playing the tambourine (I thought he was going to split his hand open with the ferocity he was playing it), and the raw emotion he pours into every song.

Their set was filled with songs old and new, from the beautiful "Hold On When You Get Love and Let Go When You Give It" to the anthemic "Take Me To The Riot", with Campbell getting the crowd jumping, bouncing the Commodore's floor, and one of my favourite songs, the heart breaking yet gorgeous "Your Ex-Lover is Dead", actually giving me chills as Campbell and Millan harmonized, with the swelling of the music.

They bookended the set with "Walls", the last song off The North, before coming back out for one last song, "Calendar", another excellent example of Amy Millan's gorgeous voice, and each band member leaving the stage one by one, leaving Pat McGee to finish off on the drums.

I've had the privilege of seeing Stars a few times, and they always impress me with their grandiose live shows. Hopefully it won't be another two or three years before they return.