Stars at Royale: Event Review

After releasing their post-disco, 80s dance revival albumNo One Is Lost, last month, Canadian indie-rockers Stars recently set out on a four month, cross-continental tour. Last night, Stars played the second date of their tour at the Royale in Boston. The Royale is part glitzy nightclub, part intimate music venue, equipped with glass chandeliers and velvet couches, perfect for Stars’ new high-energy party-vibe.

The opening act and fellow ATO alum, Hey Rosetta!, played a rambunctious thirty minute set. To say they are a talented band with a lot of energy would be a terrible understatement. Not only were there seven band members, but there also had to be around twenty instruments on stage; almost every member played multiple instruments. Tim Baker, lead singer, played guitar and keyboard, Romesh Thavanathan played keys and cello, and Kinley Dowling played the violin and did some drumming. There was even a euphonium! Hey Rosetta! was a chaotic and exuberant opening act.

Following that performance, I was a little worried that Stars picked an opening act that would overpower them. However, Stars came out as giddy as ever, with smiles on their faces, drinks in their hands, and charisma shimmering off their shoulders. The next hour and forty minutes was a non-stop show fronted by the ever-charming Amy Milan and the witty Torquil Campbell. The setlist in-order was as follows: “From the Night,” “Ageless Beauty,” “We Don’t Want Your Body,” “Turn It Up,” “Backlines,” “You Keep Coming Up,” “Through the Mines,” “This Is the Last Time,” “Hold On,” “Look Away,” “Dead Hearts,” “Going, Going, Gone,” “Trap Door,” “One More Night,” “Elevator Love Letter,” “Take Me to the Riot,” “Your Ex-Lover is Dead,” “Are You OK?,” “No One is Lost.” The encore consisted of “No Better Place,” “Midnight Coward,” and “What is to be Done?”

What made Stars’ performance so lush was their genuine happiness to be there. Torquil and Amy constantly kept thanking the audience for attending the show on a Sunday night and for continuing to be involved in their music. The two of them had infectiously playful chemistry together that kept the night light and joyous. They had adorable banter between songs and silly dance moves. One of the cutest moments of the night was when they ended their set with their backs together and both of them singing. At one slightly awkward moment, Torquil went on a quick rant about Spotify (joining Taylor Swift, Thom Yorke, and David Byrne) and how artists don’t make any money off of it. However, he wasn’t speaking to target pirates or illegal downloaders, but to thank the audience for buying a ticket to see them and support them properly.

For performing ten new songs live, it was incredible at how comfortable and well rehearsed everyone was, proving their veteran status. When they performed “Your Ex-Lover is Dead,” they were pleasantly caught off guard by the volume of the audience singing the lyrics back to them. Also, performing a song off 2001’s Nightsongs was gutsy and wonderful as it fit the set perfectly. They shined on “This Is the Last Time,” touched hearts with the hauntingly gorgeous “Dead Hearts,” and had the whole audience jumping with “No One is Lost.” With seven records under the belt and fourteen years as a band, it’s truly heartwarming and remarkable to see them with so much energy left to give.