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Stars at RBC Ottawa Bluesfest- Ottawa Review

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Who: Stars

From: Montreal, Canada

Where: Claridge Homes Stage, Ottawa Bluesfest, Ottawa

When: Saturday, July 13


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Style: Indie-pop


Crowd: Stars began their set a few minutes early and no one was complaining.  The crowd started the show somewhat bored and disinterested, possibly because a lot of the band’s set list was taken from their most recent effort, The North.  Stars are best known for songs from Set Yourself on Fire, and In Our Bedroom After The War, and the songs from those albums, “Take Me To The Riot,” “Ageless Beauty,” and “Your Ex-Lover Is Dead” got the loudest and best responses from the crowd.  The band finished their set eight minutes early, as lead singer, Torquil Campbell, said on stage and returned for an unplanned one-song encore that was well-received by fans.

Technicalities: It’s difficult to find any critique of Stars’ technical set-up.  The band’s detailed and lush sound they’re so known for on their records always translates beautifully live.  Occasionally, when Campbell and co-singer Amy Millan would sing together, one of the two couldn’t be heard over the other, but other than that the sound was beautiful.

Memorable Moment: During the bridge of what is arguably the band’s most well-known song “Your Ex-Lover is Dead,” the band stopped playing and allowed the crowd to sing some of the saddest break-up lyrics ever written.  “I’m not sorry I met you/I’m not sorry it’s over/I’m not sorry there’s nothing to save.”  Although the sing-a-long could have been louder and more enthusiastic, every one of Stars’ live performances continues to reinforce the popularity and relatability of this stunning track about long lost love.

Overall: Over the past five or six years, Stars have become an Ottawa Bluesfest staple.  While fellow Canadian indie icons Metric were a no-show for the first time in the festival’s recent memory, Stars were an ample stand-in for the band that you’ve already seen about four times, but will go see them again anyway because they seldom disappoint.  The crowd was initially distant from the bands newer, less familiar repertoire, but there was still plenty of dancing, clapping, and singing along.  Campbell and Millan’s stage presence is always fun and engaging, even if some of Campbell’s speeches seemed less than on-kilter.  Before leaving the stage, he said that it’s always great for them to play what he called “one of the best music festivals in the world.”  Hopefully Stars, like Metric, will continue to return year after year to a loving Ottawa audience.

Review by Cassie Aylward

Photos by Cassie Aylward (Except Cover Photo)

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