Saturday, June 5, 2010

Stars at Music Hall of Williamsburg

Last night I headed over to the Music Hall of Williamsburg to catch Stars on tour for their upcoming album, The Five Ghosts. Rumor had gotten around that the band was playing the album in its entirety and an energetic group of loyal fans waited in anticipation. Their was an explosion of cheers when the band came on and sultry singer Amy Millan announced "We're gonna play you The Five Ghosts from start to finish."

The first song, "Dead Hearts," was a sweet call and response between Millan and lead vocals Torquil Campbell. It was their typical sound in a refreshed way. But the rest of the album, for the most part, took a different direction with strong New Wave and Art Rock influences. With heavy synth and simple rhythms, the album is more of an authentic 80's sound than it is a modern day interpretation.

At this point the band is seasoned at performing the album and they knew what the crowd wanted. Campbell was theatrical and engaging, reminiscing about their time in Billyburg. "Stars started in the streets of Williamsburg," he said. "When I walked down the streets today, I thought I was on acid... It's an honor to be a part of the community again." With that, the band went into "The Passanger," a pop song with laser sound effects. The crowd swayed and there was a chorus of "woos." A lot of them also stood there, staring, with open ears. It's a weird thing to have a band fully play an unreleased album. There's a rush that this is a live listening party, but also a feeling of wanting to bring the album home and carefully listen to it in your bedroom.

The show was broken into 2 sets: the new stuff and the old. The crowd roared when Stars jumped into "Take me to the Riot," and from there the energy grew. The nostalgia continued to pour out from the band. As the second set approached its end, Campbell gave one last nod to the neighborhood. "This is a fucking hallucinatory dream of life and it's because you supported it. So start a band in Williamsburg... but that L train is a bitch!"

The Five Ghosts will be released on June 22nd. You can pre-order it on

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