Wednesday, December 15, 2010
Stars at the Glass House
Montreal has been a hotbed of musical acts. One of the frontrunners of the Montreal scene would be Stars who have been together for ten years producing their songs about love, anguish, ghosts and death. Led by duel vocalists Torquil Campbell and Amy Millan, Stars is touring in support of their new album The Five Ghosts.
Hailing from San Francisco, Geographer used an intriguing setup of cello, guitars, drums and synthesizers. "Kites" from their Animal Shapes EP was definitely the highlight of the set. Unfortunately, Geographer seemed to be really hitting their stride by the time their set concluded. Definitely a band to watch.
The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart
The Pains of Being Pure At Heart have jangling guitars that stick in your head for days. Their self-titled debut album was one of my favorites from 2009 and the fact that half of the band is in The Depreciation Guild gives them even more bonus points. The Pains of Being Pure at Heart recently released a new 7 inch vinyl with two tracks "Say No To Love" and "Lost Saint". I was completely lost during their set swaying to the dueling guitars of Kip Berman and Christoph Hocheim.
With white roses adorning the stage, Stars received a warm welcome from the appreciative fans as they kicked off their set with "He Dreams He's Awake". Millan's sugary sweet vocals kicked into high gear for the synthesizer drenched "Elevator Love Letter" with Campbell energetically offering a contrasting style of vocals in between playing his microKorg keyboard.
Instead of using fog or smoke to add atmosphere to their shows, Stars fired up their bubble machine during "Wasted Daylight" which immediately brought smiles to the faces of those in attendance. Sonically, Stars sounded perfect from the propulsive bass line of "A Thread Cut With A Carving Knife" to the bouncy piano of "Bitches In Tokyo". Campbell and Millan beautifully blended their voices together during during "Undertow".
One of my favorite songs "Ageless Beauty" was performed masterfully as a stripped down acoustic version with Millan sitting on a bench center stage. Campbell's love of the Smiths was apparent during "Take Me To The Riot" improvising some lyrics from "Half A Person". Stars also had an impressive keyboard setup on stage employing some heavy Moog synth bass for "We Don't Want Your Body".
"Fixed" encapsulates the overall sound of Stars with its lush harmonies, sugary synthesizers and hooky melodies. A double shot of "Set Yourself On Fire" and "Your Ex-Lover Is Dead" continued to thrill the audience as more bubbles floated around the Glass House. For their encore, Millan came out by herself for a haunting version of "Celebration Guns".
The pace and energy continued to quicken during "Reunion" as Millan threw out roses to the crowd. A hopping bass line for "Soft Revoultion" had the glass house dancing with Campbell perched on the monitors singing along as strobe lights fired off in the background. Hopefully Stars will be back soon in April for Coachella.