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Review Thu Oct 15 2015

Stars Glided Through Lincoln Hall

It's always interesting to see what genre musicians self-identify with, and even more interesting when they make up their own unique genres. It always makes me smile when I read Geographer's self-description of "soulful music from outer space." Nothing could be more fitting. Watching Michael Deni, tall, lanky and sincere, croon to the crowd while his back-up cello/guitar/drum-playing bandmates create these strange synthetic swirls of sound around him the description makes perfect sense.

The San Francisco based band warmed up the crowd at Lincoln Hall Wednesday evening, starting things off with "I'm Ready" from their 2015 release Ghost Modern following it up with "Too Much" from the same album. Moving into a phenomenal cover of Arthur Russel's "This is How We Walk the Moon" Deni's multi-instrumental talents were prominently displayed when he brought out a shining sax.

Geographer is a band that clearly feeds on the crowd's energy, and Deni did his best to get the audience moving. During "Kites" from the 2010 release Animal Shapes, Deni walked into the crowd (at which point I was really, really sad I'd chosen the balcony) and tried to get the crowd to jump along to the music. Getting a lackluster response he prompted them, "You do know how to jump don't you? Let's go!" finally getting them moving a little bit. To finish things off, the group busted out their synchronized wood blocks breaking into "Verona" from the 2010 album. Deni explained that he loved Stars, they were the first group he toured with four years ago, and he was delighted to be touring with them again. "I know some of you are shy. I'm kind of shy" he explained "we're all Stars fans. We're clearly sensitive. But you all have it in you I know. Just start with a sway and see where it carries you." By the end of the set he had the sensitive crowd bouncing.

Stars came on next with their special brand of panache. The drummer was sporting shirtless overalls (although the guy next to me thought it was a muscle tank. I still prefer to think it was overalls), the bassist had on a sparkly disco shirt and Amy Millan came twirling onto stage in a flowing draped top and camo tights. The Canadian indie pop group started things off with "Hold on When You Get Love and Let Go When You Give It" from the 2012 release The North. They moved next into "Are You Okay?" from their 2015 release No One Is Lost.

Having just re-discovered Stars through their new release I'd forgotten how long-standing and extensive their back catalog is, but I (and most of the crowd judging by the sounds of approval) was immediately transported back when the group broke into "Your Ex-Lover is Dead" from their 2007 album Do You Trust Your Friends? Wrapping up "Elevator Love Letter" an audience member yelled out that she had been wed to the song, to which Millan replied "Oh you got married to that song? That's beautiful. Well hopefully you don't get divorced to this one. It's called "Fixed.""

I'd been told that Stars put on quite a show, and it's true. They know exactly how to twirl, shine and glide their way into an audience's heart.


 
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Feature Thu Dec 31 2015

Our Final Transmission Days

By The Gapers Block Transmission Staff

Transmission staffers share their most cherished memories and moments while writing for Gapers Block.

Read this feature »

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Transmission is the music section of Gapers Block. It aims to highlight Chicago music in its many varied forms, as well as cover touring acts performing in the city. More...
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