Stars is no stranger to Singapore. Back again after their last noteworthy gig here in 2009 with two new albums to boot, they have outdone themselves once more, showing us their capability of solid songcraft, enough to make the entire crowd delve deep into emotional territory throughout the night.
Hailing from Montreal, Canada, the band is known for their lyrics revolving around love, time and eternity, along with the quiet resolution and bona fide, genuine nature of their sound. Stars knew exactly how to satisfy and stir the crowd; they delivered their signature beautiful, eloquent grandly melodic indie-pop sound with much youthful zest and staggering sincerity. Once the lights dimmed, a sweeping crowd of people got up and shuffled to the front as the synth-like opening motif of “The Theory Of Relativity” was heard, provoking unabashed screams of anticipation. There was no need for theatrics – the band was more than capable of speaking for themselves. Their performance was threaded with refreshing candor with a good mix of older crowd favorites and new hits from their latest album “The North”. Sure, it wasn’t flawless – it was unfortunate that the acoustics at the Kallang Theatre thinned the grandeur and resonance of the band’s sound, causing the energy in the room to dip occasionally when the instrumental solos came on. However, ultimately, this made the performance more genuine and down to earth all the same.
They began the concert with “The Theory Of Relativity,” accumulating into a bundle of energy as crowd favorites like “Ageless Beauty” and “We Don’t Want Your Body” motivated the fans in front to jump to their hearts’ delight. Gasps of excitement could even be heard when the slow and resolute opening chords of another crowd pleaser, “Your Ex-Lover Is Dead”, came on, and the crowd sang along with the smooth ethereal vocals of frontman Torquill Campbell and the gentle, flighty and shimmering voice of Amy Millan. Her partner and bandmate Evan Cranley, keyboardist Chris Seligman and drummer Pat McGee (spotted in dungarees, may I add) also killed it on their respective instruments on high energy upbeat songs like “Backlines” and “One More Night”, causing energy to peak and the audience to go absolutely crazy.
The band then pitched “Hold On When You Get Love And Let Go When You Give It”, much to the pleasure of adoring fans. “Take Me to the Riot” was another high energy song which stirred up the emotions of the crowd, imploring the crowd to throw away their jadedness. At this moment the band felt that the atmosphere was vibrant and dynamic enough to throw in a few attempted stage dives, specifically by Campbell and Millan, much to the amusement of the crowd (and horror of a few girls who were trying to hold the weight suddenly imposed onto them).
Stars also played their song “Walls” before ending the night with a cute vocal interplay between Millan and Campbell. Each band member left the stage one by one much to the disappointment of the crowd, leaving McGee drumming before he too left.
The night was still young and the crowd yearned for more, and Stars gave all they could through their encore performances. Vocalist Amy Millan coyly appearing again on stage singing “My Favorite Book,” accompanied with nothing but a guitar and imploring the audience to sing along, showing the band’s raw versatility. The others joined her on stage afterwards and gave us a treat of a few additional songs. They ended with “The 400” as they came and huddled together, revealing a comforting group dynamic that was truly a wonderful end to the night.
As the audience slowly left the Kallang Theatre, some were evidently spent. Marveling at the splendor of the night, they lingered around the theatre in a daze as if attempting to soak up the entire atmosphere before leaving, trying to extend the experience of the night.
I believe each person in the audience had our own personal answers to Campbell’s question -why young people like us from across the globe love a bunch of old folks (f*cking old, according to Campbell himself) making music. For us, the experience of that entire night was the answer.
Thanks to SymmetrySG for making this review possible.