For almost 20 years, the indie- pop band Stars has created small miracles. In the early 2000s, their music appeared in network TV shows such as The OC, One Tree Hill, and Gossip Girl, and in movies Like Crazy and Penelope. Over the last 20 years, Stars crafted 10 albums, 95 songs, 3 Smiths covers and many magical shows. I had the pleasure of seeing them twice- once at Cain’s Ballroom in 2012, and once last week at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery.
Stars performed for three nights at the cozy Masonic Lodge in support of their new album, There Is No Love In Fluorescent Light. (Side note: If you get the chance to see a show at the Masonic Lodge, I highly recommend it. You can chill on a balcony, sit in a throne, and exit through a garden.) KCRW sponsored the show. After spending three songs politely swaying with the flannel- clads in the back, I politely tiptoed to the front and danced my ass off. During the night, Amy pulled a beaming fan in a light- up constellation skirt to the stage and Torquil kept having off- mic conversations with a fan who watched the whole show without blinking. It was two glorious hours of people belting their favorite songs, shouting and jumping appropriately. We saw the sweat dripping off singer Torquil Campbell’s face as he wailed, danced and spat through his masterpieces, while Amy Millan delicately tapped her glitter boots and swayed in her long red kimono.
The lead singers’ juxtaposition sets Stars apart. Amy is the soothing cream cheese to Torquil’s spicy jalapeño. She has the elegance of an angel. He thinks every song is a dance anthem. They quipped like an old married couple about Miss Piggy, performing in a Cemetery, and keeping the devils down. Torquil got considerably more drunk at the Tulsa show, which was held in a considerably larger room with a considerably smaller crowd. But both times, Stars from Montreal spun a bubble of magic. This band loves their songs. You can feel love for their music, and for their audience, in every note.
“I hope you had a good time tonight, but I promise we had a better one,” Torquil said at the end. He’s probably right. But you’ll have a great time too.
Stars toured Canada earlier this year and performed in LA, Seattle, Montreal and Ottowa this month. Check here for updates.