Stars Bring Their Floral Riot To Pantages


"How was your Halloween?" Torquil Campbell asked the crowd from offstage as the lights went down. Then the singer for Montreal-based indie pop band Stars emerged from the wings bedecked in glowing white orbs that beamed out light while the opening strains of "The Ghost of Genova Heights" kicked in.

Stars and flowers were both on display at The Pantages Theater on Sat., Nov. 3.

The starry outfit was fitting not just due to the group's sobriquet, but the theatrical nature of their songs and stage show. Tuneful harmonies and vocal interplay between Campbell and fellow vocalist Amy Millan create rich landscapes of sound, and the sweeping, orchestral musical arrangements fit the Pantages Theater setting perfectly on Saturday night. Campbell only wore the suit for one song, but the remainder of the evening was a feast for the eyes and ears alike.

While the bulk of show material was from 2007's In Our Bedroom After the War, old favorites were on display, too, including the sublime "Elevator Love Letter" and material from their last release, Set Yourself on Fire. Opening with "Take Me To The Riot," Campbell held true to his dramatic roots (he's an actor, and has appeared on such shows as Sex and the City and Law and Order) by throwing ornamental flowers to grateful show-goers. The rest of the group followed suit, and the flying flowers meshed well with Stars' intricately crafted songs of love, beauty and loss.

One quibble: I know encores are practically required, but what better way to end the show than the title track from "In Our Bedroom ...", one of this year's best songs? The track's string-powered crescendo was an emotionally potent, perfect capper to the evening's first set. No one in the packed house was complaining, though, when their three-song encore included favorites such as "What I'm Trying to Say."

"The last time we played in Minneapolis," Campbell noted appreciatively, "there were only about 45 people here." This time, more than that number walked away with flowers, and it seemed everyone in the packed house walked away satisfied. Sample MP3 Files * "Elevator Love Letter" (:30) * "In Our Bedroom After the War" (:30) * "What I'm Trying To Say" (:30)