Canadian talents share the stage
Stars and Said The Whale co-star in fantastic show at Mac Hall
Rihanna might have been making headlines for her performance at the Saddledome on Saturday, but Said the Whale and Stars showed Mac Hall the value and quality of Canadian music.
Said the Whale seemed more like a co-headliner than an opening act. They opened very boldly by playing a new song. Though it could be argued the set culminated midway through at “Camilo” or near the end at “Loveless,” it was continually high-energy.
The Vancouver-based band really showed they could illuminate Mac Hall, but, having seen them before, they seem more comfortable in the smaller and more intimate venues.
Still, they worked off the crowd and it resulted in an excellent and well-orchestrated performance.
Veterans to Mac Hall, Stars, were an excellent example of what happens when the band loves performing their craft and are grateful for the fans for appreciating it.
They gave it their all from start to finish, opening with “Relativity,” then continued to play songs from all their al- bums, showing their evolution as a band. Torquil Campbell’s and Amy Millan’s vocals were spot on, and they were extremely charming together.
It was clear the band approaches their concerts not only as a musical show, but as a work of art. When the songs were slow and melancholic, you could imbibe the ache that the band felt. When it was lively and vivacious, the band wasn’t afraid to use the entire stage space to go the extra mile to make the show as vivacious and interesting as possible.
It was dramatic, but not overly so. For the last song, the band sat together in front of the drum kit and all sung, a very viscerally touching moment.
The most admirable part of Stars was their connection with the audience. Campbell gave much appreciation, explaining that they’ve been coming to the venue for 13 years and it’s weird, big, and cold, but the audience always makes it warm.
Later he called the audience “young fucking awesome people.” The band even granted a request for “Ageless Beauty” to a group of short girls in the front row because they were impressed with how the ladies managed to hold their own against everyone dancing and jumping up against them.
The bassist Evan Cranley even crowd surfed after “Take Me to the Riot.” The interplay of the active crowd and enthusiastic band is what made the concert so spectacular.
Amidst the fun, there were a few minor technical issues. Said the Whale had some sound check problems where the drums and piano were quite blaring and the vocals were a little soft, but it was sorted out before it became too much of an actual problem.
The stage manager for Stars had to run out quite a few times to adjust something. The technical concerns didn’t affect the quality of the show at all because the bands were so engaging, so it was only a minor concern.
Canadian music has had to deal with the stigma of being boring or not as good as your standard American bands from those who haven’t explored it. While one can’t judge bands based solely on their nationality, Said the Whale and Stars proved to everyone that the negative stereotype simply isn’t true.
The concert showed us Canadian art and music is an investment that will always pay off.