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Stars live at The Sugar Club, Dublin
If the best bands are the ones in which members are pulling in different directions, then Stars certainly look the part.
Kilian Murphy, 22 Sep 2005
If the best bands are the ones in which members are pulling in different directions, then Stars certainly look the part. Their various component parts look like they walked in from wildly different groups – or walks of life, even. Bassist Evan Cranley’s bowler hat and pencil-thin moustache would look at home in the glam cabaret of Scissors Sisters, while singer-guitarist Amy Millan comes straight from the Kim Deal/Gordon school of snot-nosed alt-rock cool: tattoo-sporting, short-skirted and swigging a pint of Jameson’s throughout. Singer Torquil Campbell’s joyous, exultant demeanour is pure Polyphonic Spree (although it’s hard to imagine the robe-sporting ‘cult’ band introducing a song about “fucking someone in order to try and kill them” as Campbell does).
Add a lanky, almost-blonde surfer-jock on guitar, a Mohawk-sporting drummer, plus two more reserved student types on violin and keyboard duties, and what do you have? An exceedingly enjoyable gig, interestingly enough. Stars’ tendency towards the theatrical does not always gel on record, but they clearly come into their own in a live setting. The songs’ abrupt left turns and changes of mood are greeted warmly by the audience – particularly on the blearily melancholic ‘Ageless Beauty’ and the frantically heartwarming ‘What I’m Trying To Say’.
The band’s earnest, almost childlike expressions of gratitude that we took the trouble to come and see their performance are charming and unforced, calling to mind the Flaming Lips live shows of a few years back.
The Sugar Club is packed to the rafters tonight, and the Arcade Fire are building a market for like-minded Canadian orchestral-pop outfits. Will Stars be able to retain their naïve charm if they become big enough for the stadium-indie circuit? Who cares? At the Sugar Club, this spirited, quirky band seemed to be on a level perfect for both them and their audience.
Pic: Graham Keogh