12 October 2010

Live: Stars (100Bands Review #16)

posted by: Jessica 100Bands | Live Reviews | Reviews

What’s Left: 322 Days. 85 Bands.
Band #16: Stars

When/Where: September 23rd, House of Blues, Boston, MA

Expectations: I’m sure there will be lots from their last two albums, but I really only care about their early stuff so hopefully I’ll get to hear some of that too.

Concert: This concert was a lot of firsts for me. The first time seeing Stars live, first time at the House of Blues (one of the few Boston venues I’ve never been to), and the first time reviewing a concert of this size. Most of the venues I go to have a capacity of 200 people or less, and often times there are fewer than 75 people at most of the shows. Having never been to this venue, I was not expecting it to be almost at capacity (2,425 people, almost sold out!). I felt a little out of my element and was already missing the intimate small crowds and having a personal space bubble.

However, I was really excited for this concert as their albums Heart and Set Yourself on Fire were my most played albums about five years ago. Those songs were the soundtracks to the end of high school and the beginning of college and all of the heartbreaks, breakups, and fights in between. It has been a long time since I’ve been so completely immersed in one album that I can’t pull myself away from it or out of its stories. Now, with their last two albums, their sound has become more electronic and some of their stories seem thinner, more transparent, less complex.

This was one of the few concerts I went to where the entire audience was singing along to every word. I forgot that’s what happened at larger venues and luckily I was surrounded by sober, decent singers, and it was actually kind of uplifting. The band seemed to think so too — you could tell that they were still able to appreciate a packed room of fans singing along. They had the theatrics, the fancy lights, even a bubble machine. Every chance they got they were throwing white roses into the crowd which were scattered across their sound equipment and all over the stage.

Torquil Campbell, the co-lead singer, brought the drama with his facial expressions, leaning out over the crowd, and emotions. They played a handful from the new album; “Wasted Daylight”, “I died so I could Haunt you”, “We Don’t Want your Body”, and maybe a few others. They played some older and expected songs like “I Predict A Riot” and “The Night Starts Here,” both of which really got the crowd moving and sounded great live, maybe because they weren’t playing a lot of instruments during those songs. For the finales we got to hear “Set Yourself on Fire” and “One More Night,” which made my night.

Seeing those songs live, hearing the crowd sing every word, completely transported me back to the time when those songs meant everything to me, and I realized they meant a lot to the audience around me, and to the band in front of me who was singing these songs just like they must have the first few times they performed those songs live, over five years ago.

Concert Afterglow: So incredibly grateful to have finally seen an old favorite band, but even more grateful that they seem to be able to perform each show with a genuine love and appreciation for their audience. That takes a whole different kind of talent and not all bands are capable of mastering that, especially in front of such large adoring crowds.

Recommendation: A good show if you were once a fan, or still are. I would say go. Ticket prices are a bit steep (around $20) in my mind, but it’s a fun time.

Written by Jessica  ||  BlogTwitter

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