Show Review: Stars @ The Fillmore – 10/20/2012


Until this past weekend, I was only mildly familiar with Montreal indie-rock band, Stars. However, after putting on a stellar show (no pun intended) while promoting their new album, The North, at the Fillmore in San Francisco on Saturday night, I was sold.

The night had a peculiar start as I walked into the gorgeous venue and found it to be only about a third full. Opening act, California Wives, lived up to their name and filled the room with their beachy, dream pop tunes. Although there wasn’t a large crowd, those who were there seemed to enjoy what they heard. While it definitely wasn’t a standout performance, this band has a promising future.

The venue slowly started to filling as the next opening act, Diamond Rings, took the stage with his edgy bleach-blonde hairstyle and all white, skin-tight, bedazzled outfit. Having previewed and enjoyed some of his new album, Free Dimensional, beforehand, I was a little disappointed when his indie-electronic dance music did not translate well into a live performance. John O’Regan’s voice was muffled and drowned out by a ridiculous amount of bass. However, what was lacking in the technical side of the music, O’Regan made up for with his enthusiasm and spirit on stage, managing to get the crowd dancing. Throughout Diamond Rings’ performance, one thought kept running through my head: “Did I travel back in time to the 80’s?”


By the time Stars took the stage, the room had filled almost completely, making it virtually impossible to move even if you wanted to. Glimmering disco balls and bright colored lights made the atmosphere a little reminiscent of a high school dance, but in the best way possible. The band was very vocal about their love for San Francisco, a place they claimed was home to many good friends and some of their most devoted fans. This pleased the audience. They even had special treat when a friend from town accompanied them with her amazing violin skills on a couple of songs.

Their set for the night included a considerable number of songs off the new album, The North, but made sure to please their faithful fans with older favorites. New and quite danceable songs like “Hold On When You Get Love And Let Go When You Give It” and “The Theory of Relativity” had the crowd excitedly moving about to the music. Older songs like “Take Me To The Riot” and “Your Ex-Lover is Dead” inspired one of the most enthusiastic sing-along sessions I’ve ever seen at a concert. The music translated wonderfully into a live show, with an extra charm that you don’t get from just listening to the album. Frontman Torquil Campbell had an animated stage presence and kept the crowd entertained with his friendly and witty personality. Singer Amy Millan’s hauntingly beautiful voice sent chills up my spine on multiple occasions. Together, Campbell and Millan’s distinctive styles create a dynamic that sets them apart from other male and female duo fronted groups.

At the end of the night, there was a sort of sadness that hung about the air as the band played their last song. The high school dance was coming to a close and it felt like the very last one. As Stars has been around for quite some time and their fans are getting older too, it seemed Campbell could sense this shared feeling of uncertainty when he said, “Don’t forget us”. Surely, if Stars continues to produce the quality of music they have held up for so long, they won’t have to worry about being forgotten. Stars’ performance at the Fillmore on Saturday night was more than memorable.

You can listen to my show, The Beat Hour, live on Wednesdays from 7-8pm on I play today’s best alternative & indie music, interviews with bands, and the occasional giveaway. Tune in!

DJ Constance – Sasha Tokas


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