Hot off their latest album There Is No Love In Fluorescent Light (plus two other recently-released singles) Stars started the second leg of their tour on the west coast, with a show at the Vogue here in Vancouver. Before the tour, they had been warning it may be the last time they're here in a long time, so I knew there was no way to miss it.
I got to the Vogue a couple songs into the opener, Shamir. With a countertenor voice, his songs stretched over a variety of sounds, but still all felt connected. From shoegaze to fuzzy pop, early-00’s indie to beachy vibes, he effortlessly spanned genres with standouts like "Glass", which he introduced as about fake friends, and "Straight Boys" about, well, I’m sure you can figure that one out. He put on a strong set, and definitely made me want to check out his latest album, Resolution.
After some songs clearly curated by the band (including their pals The Dears) Stars hit the stage to some violin, asking the crowd to "come out with me tonight" as they launched right in to "Fluorescent Light" from the latest album. From there, the wound through over fifteen years of music, hitting at least one song off each major release.
From Amy Millan’s voice shining on "Alone" and "Ship to Shore" to Torquil Campbell’s vicious intensity in "Take Me To The Riot", the whole band’s energy and passion was apparent throughout the night.
The group has previously joked that most of their songs are about love or death, and that was no more apparent that a two-song hit of the absolutely heartwrenching "Dead Hearts", where they asked everyone to raise a fist to our own ghosts, followed immediately by the beautifully uplifting "Hold On When You Get Love and Let Go When You Give It", the crowd singing along with abandon.
The whole night, in fact, they had the crowd yelling, clapping, and bouncing to their songs. I am certain there are few other bands in the world that would get a packed theatre to comply when they sing “Put your hands up 'cause everybody dies” on the title track to No One Is Lost, which closed out the main set.
As the lights pulsed it was obvious they would be back, but they made us work for it, eventually returning – Torquil in a shirt reading 'Fuck the Clock' – and going into the bitter back & forth of "One More Night", and "Wanderers" off the new album, written for Gord. After some nice words for the city and the plea “We’re Stars, don’t forget us”, the familiar strains of "Your Ex-Lover is Dead" started, once again getting the entire room singing their hearts out to the fan-favourite.
It was a perfect ending, and as the lights came up and “We’ll Meet Again” by Vera Lynn started playing -- another sign they might not be back for a while? But regardless, it was a great night and I know at least one person who will be patiently waiting for their return, whenever it may be.
Ship to Shore
Elevator Love Letter
The Theory of Relativity
Take Me to the Riot
Hold On When You Get Love and Let Go When You Give It
One Day Left
No One Is Lost
One More Night
Your Ex-Lover Is Dead