Concert Reviews

Stars with Queer Songbook Orchestra at the Danforth Music Hall

Photographs by Daniela Tantalo.

Montreal’s Stars provided their Toronto fans with an early holiday present in the form of an absolutely amazing set.

The impeccable harmonies between Torquil Campbell and Amy Millan were on display, as was Campbell’s trademarked dry sense of humour as he joked that playing a song about lost virginity was fitting since Millan was nine months pregnant with her second child. Extra points should be given to Millan for playing her heart out even though she’s expecting.

Their bandmates kept in the holiday spirit by wearing Christmas onesies.

The night got off to a low-key start thanks to Toronto’s Queer Songbook Orchestra; a musical collective that plays music by LGTBQ artists and more. They kicked off their set off with a slowed down version of KD Lang’s ‘Constant Craving’. Their short set also consisted of a couple spoken word pieces and culminated with Torq Campbell joining them for a whimsical take on ‘Baby It’s Cold Outside’.

There was little doubt who the night belonged to when Stars took to the stage. They fittingly kicked things off with ‘The Night Starts Here’ and Campbell greeted the near capacity crowd with, “Merry fuckin’ Christmas everybody!”

He showed why he’s one of the best frontmen out there during a passionate take on ‘Take Me to the Riot’. He also delivered one of his trademarked rants about how we’re living in dark times, doubtlessly a reference to Donald Trump’s recent election. He also said that one song was about, “Peter Pan getting fucked by Captain Hook”.

‘From the Night’, from their latest release No One is Lost brought a celebratory feel to the already joyous evening.

They received a huge cheer when they played their breakthrough hit ‘Ageless Beauty’. It was especially fitting since Millan had the whole expectant mother glow happening. They updated the lyrics to ‘Elevator Love Song’ to include a line about Tinder.

When they took to the stage for the encore, Campbell explained that ‘Your Ex-Lover is Dead’ is a “Montreal song”. The audience ever took over vocal duties at one point, singing the last verse.

When Stars play around the holidays, they typically wrap-up their set with a cover of The Pogues’ ‘Fairytale of New York’ and this night was no exception with the band turning in a fun, heartfelt take on the anti-holiday song. The back and forth between Campbell and Millan showed why they’re one of the best music duos out there. It’s gotten to the point where the audience would doubtlessly be disappointed if they didn’t play the song!

The chilly Toronto night felt a little warmer after the show Stars played.

About author

Music geek, beer geek and all around geek in general. Andrew loves music and is always looking for the next act to obsess over. Follow him on Twitter @andrewhoran77