On a rainy night in downtown Toronto it was possible to see the stars. Not up in the sky, but at the Mod Club. Montreal indie darlings Stars came out to preview their upcoming album the Five Ghosts and play it in its entirety; a huge tease considering the album doesn’t drop until June 22. The soggy weather wasn’t enough to stop the sold out crowd, though the broken air conditioner made it felt like a sauna with all the body heat and soon had the crowd dried out. Thankfully, the venue was kind enough to hand out free bottles of water. As the stage was being adorned with white flowers to resemble a funeral, the crowd was treated to an opening DJ set by Stars’ front man Torquil Campbell.
Stars walked out on stage casually and thanked everyone for coming out and introduced the five ghosts. The crowd was enthusiastic, but had the energy of watching an unknown opening band as nobody knew the lyrics. This all changed when they played “Fixed,” the only song released thus far from the forthcoming album. Front woman Amy Milan’s sultry vocals were spot on despite the sweltering heat. On top of that, she must receive bonus points for performing the whole set in a sparkly blue dress with high heels. Milan occasionally threw on a guitar, although it was usually drowned out, as some of the newer material is a bit more synth-heavy than previous efforts. One song that stood out was the very danceable “We Don’t Want Your Body.” Campbell was courteous in asking the crowd if everyone was okay between songs and occasionally threw out a rose and a water bottle to a lucky audience member.
The new album, upon first listen for many in attendance, was well received. Campbell thanked everyone again for their support and took a short break before re-emerging for a shorter set of fan picked favourites that was tallied by online votes. Led by “You’re Ex-Lover Is Dead,” the atmosphere began feeling like a regular Stars show with everyone singing along and actually knowing the words this time. Other favourites included “Ageless Beauty” and later “One More Night,” which was accompanied by wonderfully synchronized lights. The crowd managed to squeeze one more encore out of them before Stars took off for good, but not before promising they’d be back in town very soon. Although the audience left with a sense of privilege having heard the album before anyone else, hopefully next time Stars will play in a bigger venue with a working air conditioner.
For more information on Stars, check out www.myspace.com/stars .