Scala, London on Thu 15th Jan 2015

'Set Yourself on Fire' the third LP from Canadian band Stars was an album incredibly important to me during my formative years. So earnest, honest and simultaneously sad and uplifting, what teenager can't get on board with that? That album was many moons ago, yet Stars have been releasing LPs and evolving into something quite different since then. Tonight at Scala it becomes evident that neither I nor the bands are the same as we were all that time ago.

One thing is clear and something that I never noticed before even though it's so obviously true even on the aforementioned album. Stars are a pop band and make no apologies for it, nor should they.

The set tonight has a distinctly different feel and vibe to the gigs I usually attend. The music comes from a seemingly electronic pop slanted angle that owes itself more to the current EDM craze sweeping the world than anything verging towards gritty rock n roll. The crowd likewise don't seem like your seasoned hardcore dingy club rock fanatics and more a Top of the Pops kind of crowd who aren't entirely sure what to do in a live music setting and instead settle for shuffling awkwardly.

This is slightly disappointing for me who entered the gig awaiting some fine orchestral pop that would fill me with nostalgia and glorious memories of yesteryear. Yet even the tracks I'm familiar with such as 'Ageless Beauty' and 'Your Ex Lover Is Dead' are limp and lifeless, bereft of the grandiose arrangement that they deserve in a live setting.

However, as much as it's not the gig I was expecting, there are plenty of those in attendance who do like this more electronic focused pop band who at times seem like some bastard child between The Pet Shop Boys and PJ and Duncan. They cater to this sect finely with songs like 'Hold On When You Get Love and Let Go' and 'Trap Door' so garishly pop to my ears but seemingly the sound of heaven to so many others.

Stars themselves summed up my feelings on the gig best on 'Your Ex -Lover Is Dead'

'I'm not sorry I met you
I'm not sorry it's over
I'm not sorry there's nothing to save'

article by: Paul Mullin

published: 19/01/2015 14:35


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