STARS’ Live Halloween At The Winspear

This year hundreds of people spent their Halloween at the Winspear, and for a very good reason! Indie rock band Stars from Montreal were in town, and put on a very good show for all those who were willing to give up partying on All Hallows’ Eve. Opening for Stars was the also Montreal-based band Young Galaxy.

I had not previously heard of Young Galaxy, but I liked what I heard live. Throughout the concert Stephen Ramsay (lead guitarist and vocals) constantly reminded the audience that “even though we’re in a nice theatre, this is still supposed to be a rock concert!”

And rock out they did! All members of the band seemed very into the music, including Edmonton-raised bassist Stephen Kamp and lead vocalist Catherine McCandless who actually broke her tambourine during the performance. Although they tried to come across as a more rock influenced band, my favourite song of their performance was their slower and more melodious song entitled “Firestruck”.

After the intermission came the act that everyone was waiting for. At the beginning of Young Galaxy’s performance the “shoebox” shaped Winspear was nowhere near full, but throughout the opening act more people started to come in and by the time intermission came around the Winspear was packed with people! It surprised me that there was such a large turnout on Halloween night, but I guess those Stars fans are dedicated!

Lead vocalists Torquil Campbell and Amy Millan burst onto the stage at the start of their performance. They immediately began throwing roses into the crowd and yelling at everyone to get onto their feet – now that’s an entrance.

Throughout the rest of the concert the crowd stayed on their feet and the band members kept throwing roses at the audience. It gave the concert a much more intimate feel, like we were on the same level as the band and we weren’t just sitting down passively listening. I think that it takes a great band to be able to achieve that feeling.

From my point of view in the audience I could tell that there were many people in the crowd with me who really know Stars’ music very well. Apparently Amy Millan could also tell this because near the beginning of the performance she remarked that “it feels like you’ve been with us for a very long time.” Because of this long relationship that so many people have had with the band the crowd was really involved. During songs like “Take Me To The Riot” and “Dead Hearts” the whole crowd was singing along.

Just as well though the crowd was able to be quiet and really enjoy the nice acoustic performances such as the song “Ageless Beauty” which feature Amy Millan on vocals and Evan Cranley on acoustic guitar.

Upon reflection it seems very fitting that Stars’ concert was on Halloween. Their newest album is called The Five Ghosts and numerous songs of theirs have somewhat Halloween-ish titles. For example “Dead Hearts” and “I Died So I Could Haunt You.” While my friends in Grade 9 and from my Junior High school were out trick or treating I can’t think of any other place that I would rather have been on October 31st.

more in Music Review     |     posted Nov 1st, 2010 at 3:26pm     

Comments: 1

theduke wrote:

I have a completely different view. I thought the show was lacking in a lot of things or had too much of other things.

First,Torquil and Amy's chronic over-acting. I don't think every single song requires you to drop to one knee or to kick over your mic stand. Torquil also must think he is the most profound public speaker of all time because he kept blabbering on useless and confusing rhetoric... "Hold onto your ghosts"? Pfft, doesn't even make sense. How's the tour going? Anything funny happen to you lately? Why do you needlessly swear? All questions that were running through my head.

I also thought Torquil and Amy had sub-par vocals. I thought they were both lacking in pitch and range. The songs were dominated by, at some times, three keyboards. No need, cluttered up the songs when played live.

I thought the entire group of people desperately wanted them to step it up a notch, myself included. I like Stars, I think they are very talented. However, their live show played out like people desperately wanting to be massive rock stars, but not quite there yet.

on Nov 2nd, 2010 at 8:35pm Report Abuse

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