CONCERT REVIEW : STARS – King Tuts Wah Wah Hut, Glasgow 8th February 2023

Canadian indie pop rockers are on tour again, and stopped off at Glasgow’s famous King Tuts venue to strut their stuff for their Scottish fans.  Ably supported on this tour by Murray A Lightburn, singer and songwriter also from Canada, it would prove to be a great evening of easy listening tunes for the music lovers in the audience.

First on the stage this evening was Murray A Lightburn.  Lead singer of Canadian band The Dears, he showcased his musical talents armed with an acoustic guitar, poignant and melancholy music and a book of heartfelt and meaningful lyrics.  The hall was silent bar the music of Lightburn, ith songs such as Centre of My Universe, Fan Fiction, Belleville Blues and Hear Me Out and a vocal not unlike Nat King Cole, the crowd warmly appreciated the singers efforts and after his short half hour set he left to a well-deserved round of applause.

Headliners Stars were formed in 1999 in New York where frontman Torquil Campbell and keyboard player Chris Seligman recorded their first album. The band expanded when they hit the road for live shows with Evan Cranley taken on for bass who then in turn recruited Amy Millan to contribute with guitars and vocals.  With Patrick McGee and Chris McCarron added to the line-up on drums and guitar respectively, the band developed their style and continued recording in the studio.  With a further eight albums under their belt, including most recent record entitled ‘From Capelton Hill’, their army of fans were treated to a great evening of indie / pop tunes.

Opening with Heart from the 2003 album of the same name, their setlist covered all bases from their back catalogue.  Reunion, Changes, Counting Stars on the Ceiling and Weightlifting which brought John Douglas from The Trashcan Sinatras on an already busy stage.

With further songs such as Build a Fire, Take Me to the Riot, Dead Hearts and Your Ex-Lover is Dead, its fair to say there’s a dark side to the lyrics which completely contradicts the happy and joyful image coming from the band members on stage, obviously having a great time running through their extensive set.  Trap Door and Ageless Beauty saw the band close the first set before returning for a further three tracks.  Snowy Owl, Midnight Coward and No One Is Lost ended the evening and the band took their applause before leaving the stage.

Being described as eloquent indie pop, Stars brand of music certainly enlivens the soul. The electronic approach of earlier records has evolved into music with a much more rock-based feel with the more recent releases.  Catchy tunes mixed with maudlin or sentimental lyrics, main singers Campbell and Millan bounce off each other perfectly, creating a great atmosphere and sound on stage.  Stars are a more than decent band with a back catalogue to justify the tag. Coupled with Murray A Lightburn’s opening set, it was another great night at King Tuts.

Review & Photographs by Stephen Wilson

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