The more things change, the more they stay the same. Stars returned to Terminal 5 on Saturday, bringing their unabashed romanticism to one of the city's largest venues. Their set began in force, the venue's lights saturating the stage and bathing the band in color. The first few songs were equally vibrant, with "Elevator Love Letter" filling up the venue and thrilling the crowd.
Then, things got quiet, as noted elsewhere, with Amy Millan and Evan Cranley (whom I interviewed a while back) playing an acoustic version of "Ageless Beauty," with, alas, suboptimal crowd participation. But with such an immense back catalog - five full lengths, a few EPs and side projects - they came back strong, extending out to an almost two hour set.
The encore began with Dwight D. Eisenhower's farewell speech, as he warns of the "military industrial complex," which transitioned in the anti-war "Celebration Guns." But most of Stars' songs are about love, rather than politics, although themes of mortality always loom above the giddiness of romance. Without one, there cannot be the other, and Star's core is built on another couplet, the dynamic between singers Amy Millan and Torquil Campbell, who harmonize and trade verses beautifully.
Opener Wild Nothing played a pleasant, jangly set of indie pop, reminiscent of Beach Fossils (with whom they share a label, Captured Tracks). Although their live sound seemed pretty straightforward, their recordings have more texture and reverb, reminiscent of shoegaze. Definitely worth a second listen.
Stars also played Littlefield on Sunday and are doing another show at the Studio at Webster Hall, but it seems to be full. Hopefully they'll be back soon. Rest of the pictures after the jump.
YouTube: Wild Nothing - Chinatown