I could kill my friend for making me walk out of Stars' set at the El Mocambo during Canadian Music Week in early 2003. Stars were only starting to make a name for themself at the time and its exciting to see how far they've come since then. So did I luck out and attend the BETTER of the two Stars' shows at The Mod Club? chromewaves, Mishie, pop (all love) and (another)Brian all went to the Saturday night show and had a good time as I've read. At least according to Foxymoron and SHOT who both went to both the Saturday and Sunday night Stars' shows, the Sunday night ALL-AGES show surprisingly turned out to be the better of the two. Yes, Sunday night was great, awesome, lovely and I'm glad I went that night. The band had a lovely string section who sounded wonderful but unfortunately my view of them was blocked by the keyboards. Otherwise I had a great view of the band almost right up front. When Torquil pulled up that little girl on stage(who I coincidentally had let her and her father go to the front of the stage in front of me so that she could get a better view; yes how nice of me) and announced that "This is rock n' roll", that was the cutest thing ever.
I must say that Torquil just oozed charisma. He has that sort of dry voice that's smooth, dapper, cool all at the same time. On the other side, Amy's gorgeous girl-ish vocals were very beguiling. Instrumentally, the band sounded great, easily making the transition between their indie/chamber pop tunes like "Calendar Girl" and "Heart" and their more rockin' songs like "Ageless Beauty". On "Elevator Love Letter", the band turned up the guitars a tad and the electro-pop influence was kind of buried a bit, but nonetheless the melodies on the song shone through. Evan on bass was utterly cool wearing that chapeau of his and his basslines were really distinct and audible. Chris' keyboards were lovely and nice, albeit a little harsh sounding. (Did anyone think that the keyboard sound was mixed a little too high in the mix? Or maybe it's because I was standing right in front of the keyboards.) During the encore, "Death To Death" ventured into jammy territory as drummer Pat McGee let loose with some improvised rhythms. Oh, and the band also had an additional guitarist with them who filled out the sound quite nicely. Someone in the audience yelled out at the start of the encore for them to play their cover of "This Charming Man" but unfortunately the band didn't play it. Torquil did say that The Smiths were the "best fuckin' band ever", however. (ok, I might have imagined him saying "fuckin", but then maybe not.)
Ultimately, I most enjoyed seeing the crushworthy Amy Millan bust out those dance moves and having a fun time on stage. Whether Sunday night was the better of the two shows is a matter of opinion, but otherwise it was a good time all around.
Opener Chad Vangaalen got things going at the beginning, playing as part of a trio, with other members on drums and bass guitar. Chad, on guitar, vocals and harmonica, along with his band, played a set of stripped down indie rock tunes that reminded me of Unrest and the Pixies. There were some nice melodies and the drummer frequently achieved a groove which kept the songs from getting boring. In certain respects, their sound's so 1995. I don't think the crowd was necessarily into 'em as I could tell by the chatter but I'm sure the band would go over well with the indie-rock fans in a smaller venue like the Horseshoe.
[photos from the show]
There's a new Arcade Fire message board also. [from broken telephone]