Stars @ Webster Hall - 02-25-06

The evening started, as evenings are wont to do, with dinner. We were supposed to be meeting some more people for dinner at The Three of Cups in the East Village, but unfortunately the other party was just leaving Roselyn, Long Island by the time Gerri, Sean, and I arrived for some eats. Fairly quiet atmosphere, nice low lighting, brick interior, great music (during dinner I heard Tom Waits, Elvis Costello with Burt Bacharach, and a contemporary rendition of The Very Thought of You, which happend to be my wedding song) coupled with the usual fun conversation all contributed to a nice meal of pignoli-crusted talipa with escarole and grilled tomatos.

Heading over to Webster Hall, we got in just as Stars was beginning their second song. Now I am still fairly new to the whole Indie Pop/Rock world, and had only heard the Stars' two records a few times before the concert. My impression of the records - Heart and Set Yourself on Fire - were somber, delicate, strangely British in their musical sensibilities, which is odd considering I think they started in and are based in Canada. Anyway, overall I really enjoyed the records, but was of the opinion that they were lacking a little in the weight department. Well, live the band is a completely different story:

At times having up to 9 musicians on stage, these guys were monsters live. On record I preferred the quieter, introspective songs from the Heart album, mainly because it was those songs where you could hear the interplay between the two vocalists, Torquil Campbell (the dude) and Amy Millna (the chick). Live, everything just congealed into a potent mix of pop, rock, ballads, and noise that was at all times both jump-up-and-down happy and stand in place mesmerizing.

I have no idea what songs these are from - my camera was completely useless in the venue, so these are all from Sean's camera. I know that early on in the show there was a great song called Going, Going, Gone from the first album Nightsongs. Again, decent on the record, incredible live.
This was some crazy song dedicated to Dick Cheney, who "finally had the guts to shoot someone himself." There was a lot of screaming and, though I have no love for Cheney or the rest of the Dubya administration, this song kind of lost me. Listening through the latest record, I think this was called He Lied About Death, but I could be wrong. It was very different live.

Everything was roses and rock after that. They closed the set with my favorite song, Your Ex-Lover is Dead, and then came out for an additional three numbers (I think - I may have missed a songs from over-dancing). For a guy who said Stars was good, but not his favorite band, Sean picked up about $65 worth of merch from the table before we headed out. All in all, a great night and a fantastic band live.