Written by David Campos (@magicdave1983)
Live at Culture Room : Fort Lauderdale, FL – 10/16/2011
I find Sundays to be boring most of the time. Rarely does something of true excitement capture my attention on the first day of the week. Sundays have to really be planned if one plans to conquer boredom, sometimes months in advance. This past July, I was fortunate enough to accordingly plan the Sunday of my birthday weekend. Sunday, October 16th was targeted for a good time. Why you ask? Well, I’ll simplify the answer with one word: Stars. Hailing from the northerly city of Montreal, the Canadian indie rock band was to pass through South Florida on a lonely, Sunday night in October. Just as one would astronomically predict celestial events in the night sky, I had inkling this night was going to be special. So, I assured my place for that Sunday night at the Culture Room in Fort Lauderdale.
The night was crisp with a slight breath of wind. The gloominess of incoming rain was ever present, but it did not show itself as I entered the venue. Culture Room is a relatively small venue when looked upon. This actually plays out very well. One can literally approach the stage without the fear of a barricade or bodyguards. It really is one of the most personal and intimate venues where one can enjoy music sincerely. I’m glad I didn’t need a telescope to gaze upon the Stars. They came on stage with such a calm and welcoming demeanor. Lacing their instruments with slim bouquets of roses, they began their set “Fixed”, one of the singles off their 2010 album The Five Ghosts. The ying and yang tag team of lead vocalists Torquil Campbell and Amy Millan flows through your ears like soothing river. They have a synergy that elevates your musical experience into heavenly territory. I was practically in a state of spiritual prayer when I heard them play “Dead Hearts”. Amy’s voice is that echo one longs to hear that tells you that everything is going to be ok. Tears rarely fall from my eyes at a show, and that song managed to do it.
From “The Passenger” to “Take Me to the Riot”, this band, which had a discography that spans exactly 10 years, gave a performance that really calmed the spirit. If a person went in feeling like shit, I guarantee that person left feeling a million bucks. On a personal note, Torquil Campbell is really one of the best performers I have ever seen on stage. I felt as if I was witnessing the merged souls of Morrissey and Joy Division’s late vocalist Ian Curtis. He had Curtis’ stage-possessed musical tick and Morrissey’s slick fashion style. Even with those eerie similarities, his gentle voice and joyous smile was a clear reminder of just how unique he is as an artist. In that spirit of pure artistry, all the roses on their instruments were not forgotten. They were thrown from the stage and forced to rain down on the spectators like a meteor shower. Yet, just like a meteor shower, their set was done suddenly. Their haunting joy echoed in my head as I exited the venue. I walked out into a drizzling rain with just my jacket, and a rose. Even with the cloudy overcast, the Stars came out to shine that night.