Review: Stars Align with Their Devoted Fanbase at Lincoln Hall
When you’ve been making art, touring and being just an undeniable powerhouse in the music scene, you expect there to be plenty of diehard fans in the audience. At Stars‘ set at Lincoln Hall, there was more than a fair share of loyal admirers of the Montreal band. With a line that stretched around the building and conversations about how many shows they’ve seen this tour cycle, there was no doubt that this was going to feel like a special show.
Opening up the night was Lydia Persaud along side Christine Bougie serving up some incredible songs. Persaud’s voice is the star of her sound, lending some soulful vocals to some incredible instrumentation. “I Got You” immediately hooks you with its love no matter the troubles lyricism. .Throughout her set Persaud embraced her tender side with tracks like “Unsung” for all those still waiting to tell someone they love them or “Words for Her” a song she very proudly prefaced as “A queer love song for all those queers out there!” Persaud and Bougie worked seamlessly together, digging out every bit of of emotion from the short set of songs.
Before the show, Stars had come upon some bad luck. They blew two tires on their van and were loading in when the doors should have been open. But the members of Stars (Torquil Campbell, Chris Seligman, Evan Cranley, Amy Millan, Pat McGee, and Chris McCarron) worked together and hurried past the long line of fans to get ready for the show. And while the start time was maybe a little later than expected and all the rushing may have hampered any other band, Stars were more than ready to give Lincoln Hall their best. “The Night Starts Here” opened things up as perfectly as you’d expect, leading the devoted crowd right into the wonderful night.
I don’t think there was a single song that night that went over anyone’s head or was being belted out by someone in the crowd. Everyone seemed to be in tune with Stars, letting their decades of enjoying the band spill out at the show. The members of Stars clearly were empowered by it, with Millan and Campbell jutting out their microphones to the crowd singalong. Millan in particular would single out enthusiastic fans and let them take the lead on entire parts of songs, something most of them were completely ready for. That’s one of the best parts of the show, just how communal it all felt.
Of course there were songs that even not so dedicated fans were all over. “Take Me to the Riot” had everyone in a tizzy with the yells of the title in the chorus. “Elevator Love Letter” and “Look Up off of Heart” off of Heart had their respective fans enamored. But it was “Your Ex Lover is Dead” that was the obvious crowning moment of the night. Whether they were new fans or lifelong followers of Stars, this is the song that got everything pouring their hearts out for.
Milan eschewed the final song that most of the crowd was ready for. ” I Just don’t feel like laying the next song” she said before asking the audience if that was ok. While there were a couple of disappointed sighs for that lack of “Ageless Beauty”, the majority of the crowd was delighted as she shifted the setlist to “My Favorite Book”. She and guitarist McCarron performed the song together in a serene and gentle moment before the encore brought the rest of the band back on stage.
The final two songs certainly felt like a victory lap for the night. “Snowy Owl” followed by “No One is Alone” melded together perfectly, bringing the already cohesive and loving audience together one final time that night. Much like the start of their set, the final song felt like a puzzle piece falling into place. “No One is Alone” had the crowd following Campbell’s voice like they were commands: “Put your hands up ’cause everybody dies!” The song is an existentialist reminder of that impending doom but with a pizazz that makes you want to dance your way to it that only Stars can whip up.
All photos by Julian Ramirez.