The Canadian indie pop band Stars has been playing in the Canadian and United States independent music scene for more than a decade, but I first encountered them only seven years ago.
I was going through a friend’s playlist, and the first song I heard was “Elevator Love Letter,” a single from the band’s 2003 release, “Heart.” I started streaming music and videos online almost immediately, and by the time I was listening to “Your Ex-Lover is Dead,” a track from the 2004 album “Set Yourself on Fire,” there was no turning back. I was hooked.
So I spent the next couple of years making up for lost time, reveling in the band’s discography, transfixed with its music.
Forward to sometime in 2011, when a Stars Facebook page started soliciting votes for possible Asian tour destinations. My fingers got busy, furiously typing “Manila! Manila, please!” and other similar incantations several times in that thread.
And then I found out that Stars female vocalist Amy Millan was pregnant and was about to give birth soon. My enthusiasm faltered a little, and speculations of a Stars Asian tour seemed forgotten. But I never stopped hoping and I wished upon all the stars in the cosmos.
Lo and behold, my wish came true! The loooong wait is over. Stars will finally be playing in Manila, thanks to Kindassault, No Seat Affair! and Raven 7 Multimedia. The concert “Stars Live in Manila” will be held tonight at the Metrowalk Tent in Pasig City.
The five-member band will visit Manila as part of its much-awaited Asian tour, in support of its latest full-length studio album, “The North,” which it has been promoting in Canada, the US, Europe and Australia since its release September last year.
Stars will likewise be having shows in other Asian cities throughout this month.
The group is composed of lead vocalist and songwriter Torquil Campbell, singer-guitarist Amy Millan, keyboardist Chris Seligman, bassist Evan Cranley, and drummer Pat McGee. It was originally formed in Toronto in 1998, with only Campbell and Seligman as members.
The duo released its first record, “Nightsongs,” in 2001, and eventually recruited Cranley, Millan, and McGee to perform on live shows. Its propensity to brilliant music prospered, resulting in six more albums and four EPs.
The music of Stars has evolved from electro-pop to more rock-infused, as evidenced in the chronology of past releases. The songs are easy on the ears and easier to understand. Listening to them is like reading the diary of an eloquent close friend—endearing, richly-woven tales of romantic pursuits, personal encounters and heartfelt musings that probably anyone can relate to, set against a background of inspired and flavorful melodic instrumentation, forcing one to experience a ripple of somewhat familiar—or previously unrecognized—emotions.
Immersing oneself in the songs may bring a wave of melancholy. For instance, the lyrics in “Your Ex-Lover Is Dead go like this: “God, that was strange to see you again, introduced by the friend of a friend, smiled and said ‘yes I think we’ve met before,’ in that instant it started to pour … Live through this, and you won’t look back…”
Other tracks from previous releases may lead to swaying in fluid motion, or even stomp on one’s feet, as is the case when listening to “Take Me to the Riot” from the 2007 release, “In Our Bedroom After the War.”
Stars’ poignant storytelling and lush instrumentation resonate on its latest album, “The North,” but this time in more cheerful, playful, and lighthearted fashion.
Remember how it feels to listen to the songs you were addicted to in high school, the feeling of wanting to go back to that era? Listening to Stars is different; it makes you want to look forward to tomorrow and the kind of music the future has in store.
The rumor mill is spinning stories of a possible secret show prior to the main event in a more intimate, but undisclosed, venue. Keep your eyes and ears open for future announcements.
For more info on the band, log on to youarestars.com. Haven’t secured your ticket? Visit Kindassault’s Facebook page.