2018 you’re almost done!
It was a tumultuous year for me personally but I have to say, I’m excited for what 2019 has in store. It’s all the fucking same anyway, isn’t it? Time is but a human construction, let’s all just try and be ever present in the moment. Sunday night at L’Astral was my final show of the year (man, I had some good times at L’Astral this year!) as Stars were welcomed home for their final show of the tour! Having just played the previous night in Ottawa, ON with a 90-piece orchestra at the National Arts Centre, lead singer Torquil Campbell clued us in to the band’s mood: “We’re excited to play a dirty fucking rock show tonight.” No better way to end the year, right?
But first, openers My Brightest Diamond had a little dose of the eclectic and the eccentric to prescribe to us. The project of multi-instrumentalist Shara Nova could best be described as orchestral electronic lullabies; scattering moments of soft luscious poesy with others of pulsating dance club adrenaline. Nova sings with a whimsical light-heartedness that can also be cutting at times, similar to Bjork or Florence and the Machine. She displayed incredible range, hitting some notes that would have opera singers drop to their knees in the pit. The set focused primarily on songs from My Brightest Diamonds latest release, 2018’s A Million and One; rightly so as it’s a fucking fantastic record. “It’s Me on the Dance Floor” was pure fire, “Champagne,” for which we all toasted our invisible champagne glasses was also a wicked jam. Nova switched between English and French vocals throughout the set, all the more impressive because she’s from Detroit and wrapped things up with the infectiously catchy “White Noise.”
It was time for that “dirty fucking rock show” we were all promised and although the band seemed a little road weary, voices a little raspy, Stars were definitely there to get down and dirty (I’m talking about the music, you pervs). “Fluorescent Light” opened the set, without a doubt the stand out track on 2017’s There Is No Love In Fluorescent Light. And though we could accept this as true, there was certainly a lot of love under the spotlights at L’Astral as Stars reaffirmed their position as Montreal’s finest indie darlings. Stars played a varied set that spanned their twenty years making music, that’s eight full-length albums if you’re wondering, but the biggest pop from the crowd was reserved for two songs from back in the mid to late ’00s, “Take Me To The Riot” and my personal fav “Your Ex-Lover Is Dead” (love that reference to the pont Champlain). The chemistry between Campbell and vocalist Amy Millan was palpable, like that would have been in question! When you’ve been performing together for twenty years that sorta thing becomes second nature. Unless you’re Oasis I suppose (one day we’ll get a reunion right!?)
So, the encore was cut a little short it seems, I was a little disappointed at that, but I don’t want to cast a shadow over a show that was largely a success. It’s mid-December, the holidays are a busy and stressful time and it was the final show of the tour. There you go, I’ve made excuses for you Stars. I am almost certain they will be back in a couple of years, new album in full glory, to play in front of all those glimmering local Montreal faces! Maybe in the summer, at a festival, that would be nice… fuck, I hate winter!
Written by Lee Ferguson
Photography by Michael Kovacs
*edited by Danielle Kenedy