Stars / Hey Rosetta! Metropolis, Montreal QC, February 5

Stars / Hey Rosetta! Metropolis, Montreal QC, February 5
Photo: Luke Orlando
An eager crowd was at Metropolis for the double bill of Hey Rosetta! and Stars on Thursday night (February 5), and for the most part, the two veteran Canadian bands delivered on their reputation for powerful performances. The bands are touring their new records together for the next month across Canada and the US.
Hey Rosetta! opened the night a little tentatively, and in comparison to previous tours, seemed to be relying on muscle memory, at least for some parts of their set. Lead singer Tim Baker admitted to having spent most of the day in bed, as opposed to "strolling down Saint-Laurent, eating bagels, watching babes." His voice seemed perfect as ever though, albeit with a little less energy.
The band strolled through a set list spanning their latest three records, including crowd favourite "Red Heart." Baker seemed to forget lyrics on multiple occasions, probably due to being under the weather, though he and the band laughed it off and the set didn't seem to suffer much. "What Arrows," from their new album Second Sight, was a definite highlight, showing a piercing intimacy that contrasted the rest of the set nicely. There were many other bright moments as well, showing that Hey Rosetta! were probably just working through some early tour kinks.
It was odd, then, to follow such a down-to-earth vibe with Stars' set, which was in many ways over the top. It's evident that the band have moved away from the chamber-pop/rock sound with which they originally made a name for themselves, and have now incorporated lots of '80s elements — pink and blue neon lights, sunglasses, lots of synth, chorus pedals and falsetto — into their set. Gone was Torquil Campbell's trumpet, which in the past added a lot of spark to the upper registers; he wielded a corny melodica instead. The crowd seemed to enjoy it overall, but that something that really makes a fantastic show was missing.
Stars weaved through cuts off their latest, No One Is Lost, all with an infectious high energy and volume that kept the crowd moving. Out of a set that sounded mostly similar, Campbell's vocal performance on the new song "Trap Door" was a highlight, as was the throwback and supreme crowd-pleaser "Your Ex-Lover Is Dead."
Overall, it was a fine outing for both bands, on a tour that will probably smooth out as the dates progress.