Stars, Seoul Show Review – Friday February 22nd

25 Feb

Seoul isn’t known for it’s concerts, there aren’t exactly shirts being sold at Hot Topics in the States with phrases like “I’m big in the Republic of Korea.” There are admittedly more shows than their once were, but still Seoul isn’t exactly on the Silk Road of Asian tour stops for bands. So, when a band, even one I consider a guilty pleasure has an ad pop up on thefacebook in Hangul, I take note. Last Friday, one of my guilty pleasures came to Seoul and I paid upper-deck-Springfield prices to check them out in a mid-sized venue. The band is Canada’s own Stars.

They’re touring for the 2012 release The North, an album that is full of their trademark melodramatic catchy pop with a touch of New Order sprinkled in. It’s a good album, and after enjoying the majority of their last five albums, I really have to reconsider their status as guilty pleasure. On principle I’m against the kind of music they’re making, but I enjoy it so much I must to be for it on some level. This is a band where my first impression of their albums is always, “Why did I listen to that?” each new album I quietly rejoice that my interest in The Stars is done with. Then maybe later that week or a few months later, I find myself really pondering one of their songs and I give the album another listen. The second time around, I have slightly more appreciation for it, and this cycle goes on and on until I know every word to every song by heart. Something very true that I take no pride in.


The show started off with the curtain lowered, then Aretha Franklin’s Who’s Zooming Who demanded everyone’s attention as the curtain inched it’s way up. Amy Milan was dancing, Torquil Campbell was praising Aretha and midway through their first song I realized what it was that drew me to Stars; this has to be some of the funnest music to make in the world. It’s just pure dance pop music, that forces a smile on my face whenever I hear it. No matter how red my face may get while talking about the band.

By the time the show was really rolling I was on my third Jack and coke and I was having a great time. Then I had this strange thought, partially related to how I bi-annually remember that I secretly like the Stars and partially since the venue wasn’t as full as the Beach House show I saw last month on a Wednesday night was. The thought was how will history treat bands like Stars? How will any band middling in popularity be remembered 20 years in the future? I’m very interested to know how which band will be the equivalent of The Talking Heads or The Velvet Underground. I would really be interested to see the ratio of popularity of bands in 70s and bands today. However, I don’t think that really matters all that much anyway since there seem to be about a million more bands now and a million and one more ways to promote music and build a fan base. Will current bands in the future just end up playing private shows at 20th wedding anniversary parties to pay the bills or will they just pray that someone will use one of their songs when they raise the future curtain on some mid-sized venue in some emerging market megacity?

So, in conclusion, I guess this is my coming out party. I like the Stars. I’m dropping the guilty pleasure and will actively admit to enjoying them. Although, this may be the end of my interest in the Stars. I guess only time will tell. If I write another review about this show in 2 months you’ll know what I’ve chose.

-C. Charles


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