Canadian alternative/pop quintet Stars returned to their roots Tuesday night (Oct. 11), performing at a sold-out Music Hall of Williamsburg in Brooklyn, N.Y. Originally formed in Toronto by vocalist Torquil Campbell and keyboardist Chris Seligman, the band had relocated to Williamsburg before returning north of the border to Montreal, where the band is now based.
Chatting with Billboard.biz before the show, Campbell reminisced about how the since-built-up neighborhood used to sport "one record store and one coffee shop." When told that there's still one record store (Academy Records, at 96 N. 6th Street) within view of the venue and several more coffee shops, Campbell laughed, though ruefully.
"We should've invested in Starbucks," he joked.
The concert was Stars' first in the U.S. this year after playing five shows since January across Canada. The band toured more extensively last year after releasing its fifth studio album, "The Five Ghosts" (on Vagrant Records in the U.S.) The set debuted at No. 8 on Billboard's Alternative Albums chart and No. 9 on Independent Albums in July 2010.
The collection's "Fixed" and "We Don't Want Your Body" each scaled the Emerging Canadian Artists chart, while "Dead Hearts" topped the AOL Music Video tally. The latter song has been featured in the NBC series "Chuck" and in the trailer for the movie "Like Crazy," which won the Grand Jury Prize: Dramatic Film at the 27th Sundance Film Festival.
Stars mixed all three songs into their set last night, as well as a piano-ballad makeover of fellow "Ghosts" track "How Much More." Campbell and the band's sole female member, Amy Millan, traded vocals throughout the show (with Campbell joyously tossing flowers into the crowd at regular intervals), while dipping back to their earlier catalog, including 2005's "Set Yourself on Fire" (a No. 34 hit on Heatseekers Albums) and 2007's "In Our Bedroom After the War" (No. 10 peak).
Stars, performing "Fixed" on "Late Night with Jimmy Fallon" last year.
"Doesn't she look great for just having had a kid?" Campbell exclaimed about Millan to a boisterously agreeing audience. Millan gave birth to daughter Delphine in March.
The group even offered the never-before-performed-live midtempo song "The Better Ones." "This is for all the people who are better than us ... better-looking ... richer," Campbell told the crowd. "Let's have some sympathy for them. They'll never know what it's like to lose," he added, to the crowd's clear approval of the concepts of rooting for the underdog and the longer the wait, the sweeter the reward (both in true alternative spirit).
Stars' manager Eoin O'Leary revealed to Billboard that Stars is recording its next album at the Mount Zoomer studios in Montreal. (Fellow Canadian alternative band Wolf Parade named and recorded multiple albums at the studio, where Montreal rock band Handsome Furs has also recorded.)
The set is tentatively due next spring.