[photos courtesy of Jill Harrison and For the Love of Brooklyn]
This past Monday night, the Stars began their tour in support of new album No One Is Lost and made their third stop in Brooklyn at the Music Hall of Williamsburg. After a fantastic opening set from fellow Canadian band Hey Rosetta!, the Stars took the stage to the sweet, lonely lilt of Judy Garland and promptly kicked off the party with the first single from their new album, “From The Night.” The sold-out crowd apparently read an album review or three and figured a dance party might happen, so when the retro disco beat kicked in and singers Torquil Campbell and Amy Millan hit the chorus, it felt like the weekend was back in full force.
Much of the press about the new album has focused on how the band is making more dance tunes — and yes, Millan did collaborate on a recent track with EDM DJ Porter Robinson. But the real story seems to be that the cute, ironic fatalism that was present in the younger band’s work has evolved; the cabaret has shuttered because the stakes are too high. In fact, during the recording of No One Is Lost, the band’s long-time tour manager, Eoin O’Leary, was diagnosed with cancer. So if the Stars are guilty as charged of making a big fat dance album, so be it; O’Leary is now in recovery, and there is cause to celebrate.
On Monday, while there was certainly plenty of dancing, there was also a huge variety. Slow burners, disco tracks, and the good old-fashioned pop songs the Stars are known for — they made sure the setlist had something in it for everyone. The lineup was a mix of brand new songs and deep cuts dating all the way back to their debut album, Nightsongs. One of, if not the very highest points of the night was a reworked version of “Going, Going, Gone,” which Emily Haines of Metric sang with the band back in 2001. While the original version is earnest, spare and stripped down, the new version they performed Monday night featured melancholy synths, a minimalist backbeat, and heartbreakingly beautiful vocals. The new version felt more like a downtempo afterhours clubby version of the Stars — in the best of ways.
Other highlights included 2012’s “Hold On When You Get Love and Let Go When You Give It,” a sing-along for crowd favorite “Elevator Love Letter,” and a raucous new song called “Trap Door” that would make Ric Ocasek proud. The band closed out the main set with the new album’s title track, and all the arms in the venue went up in unison at the refrain: “Put your hands up because everybody dies!”
I recorded Stars using a pairs of Schoeps hypercardiod microphones and a soundboard feed graciously provided by the band and house engineers. They did an outstanding job and the sound quality is excellent. We hope you enjoy!
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Music Hall of Williamsburg
Exclusive download hosted at nyctaper.com
Recorded and Produced by hi and lo
Source: Soundboard (Engineer: Marty) + Schoeps MK41 > KCY > Naiant PFA > Sound Devices 744T @ 24 bit / 48 kHz
02. From the Night
03. Ageless Beauty
04. We Don’t Want Your Body
05. Turn it Up
07. You Keep Coming Up
08. The Ghost of Genova Heights
09. This is the Last Time
10. Hold On When You Get Love and Let Go When You Give It
11. Look Away
12. Dead Hearts
13. Going, Going, Gone
14. Trap Door
15. One More Night
16. Elevator Love Letter
17. Take Me to the Riot
18. Your Ex-Lover Is Dead
19. Are You OK?
20. No One Is Lost
21. (Encore Call)
22. No Better Place
23. What Is to Be Done