Last night was my fifth time seeing Monteral's Stars, and the second time this year. And not only do they put on a fantastic live show, but they always seem to have amazing opening bands. Last couple times were Miracle Fortress and Hey Rosetta!. Definitely band that should, can, and do headline shows of their own. Last night continued that trend.
Opening this time was Young Galaxy, which is interesting as Stephen Ramsay used to be in Stars. When their set started out, the sound mix seemed to be a little off, but after "The Buzz In My Flesh" -- which didn't seem to have the same punch live -- it sounded great. "Outside The City" seemed to get things on track and if the rapidly growing group of people gathering at the stage was any indication, the band won over their fair share of new fans. This was the third time I had seen the band, and the first where they were not hidden by thick plumes of fog. I think this led to better show from the band, as they were not just sihouettes in the smoke -- which, mind you, makes for an awesome visual -- and it let their stage presence shine through more. During the primal sounding "Queen Drum" Catherine McCandless was stalking the from of the stage, and before the beautiful "Firestruck", Stephen joked that he has seen a lot of people making out while Stars was playing during their tour, and he would like it is people did the same for them. It was only sort of awkward, and in the best way. After a new song, they ended the set with "Long Live The Fallen World", which came to an amazing ending of intense guitar and swirling synth, as the band thanked everyone, including the friends and family they had in the crowd, and left. I was looking forward to seeing Young Galaxy almost as much as I was Stars, and rocky start aside, they did not disappoint. I hope they're back again soon for a headlining show of their own.
Destroyer, The Buzz In My Flesh, Outside The City, Lazy Religion, Queen Drum, Firestruck, We Have Everything, Long Live The Fallen World.
Soon after, it was time for Stars to hit the stage, roses and all. They kicked things off with "He Dreams He Is Awake", off the new album The Five Ghosts, then went back to Heart with "Elevator Love Letter". That set the tone for the night, as they played a good mix of songs from the new album as well as their back catalogue. The band was as good as ever, with Torquil being incredibly enthused to be home and humbled by the crowd. They also brought with them one of the most interesting things I've seen in a while: two bubble machines that spewed a great amount of bubbles into the air. It seems like such a simple thing, but I don't think I've seen anyone do that at a show before, at least not on that big a scale. They were a lok more beautiful, and a hell of a lot easier to clean, than confetti. But they didn't just bring the bubbles, they brought their a-game, even with Amy Millan five and a half months pregnant. That didn't stop her from dancing around, and Torquil Campbell was his usual intense, fun to watch, and outspoken self, giving former premier Gordon Campbell a little good bye speech (more like a "get the fuck out" speech) before "The Comeback".
About half way through the set, most of the band left, and Amy and Evan Cranely sitting on a bench for an acoustic version of "Ageless Beauty". The mood stayed like that as Torquil came back out to sing "The Wood" with Amy, accompanied by Cranley and and Chris Seligman on brass. "Take Me To The Riot" had the crowd jumping and yelling along, and they closed out the set with a trio of songs from Set Yourself On Fire.
The encore began with a simple blue light backing Amy as some canned strings accompanied her for Celebration Guns. The band returned for one of my favourites from the new album, "I Died So I Could Haunt You" (which I want played at my funeral). "Soft Revolution", which is always an incredible song live, had Stephen and Catherine some out to dance and play tambourine, and the night was brought to a gentle end with "Changes"
The band always puts on an incredible show, and even thought I have seen them five times now, I would not hesitate to see them five more.
He Dreams He Is Awake, Elevator Love Letter, The Passenger, How Much More, Wasted Daylight, Time Can Never Kill The True Heart, Bitches in Tokyo, Undertow, The Comeback, Ageless Beauty, The Wood, Dead Hearts, Take Me To The Riot, We Don't Want Your Body, Fixed, Set Yourself on Fire, Your Ex-Lover is Dead, One More Night.
[encore] Celebration Guns, I Died So I Could Haunt You, Reunion, Sweetness, Soft Revolution, Changes.