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May 14, 2002 - The Black Cat [Washington DC]

By: Martin Royle

The club on a Tuesday is a light hearted affair. A few beers, maybe a joint in the ally, and then some local rock. DC provides. Tonight it's (The Sounds of) Kaleidoscope, a psychedelic wonderland whose big-sound madness touches god and early Verve simultaneously. Eyes closed, I'm caught swaying. The band walks off under a cascade of feedback. The night seems to be getting younger.

I was at the club to see Kaleidoscope, so I wander off to get drinks and talk about the genius of a jukebox. By the winds of luck, I go again into the backstage. The band that's playing there first strikes me as strange. A very English looking guy in a semi new wave get up is repeating the same line. "I feel violent for you lover/I feel violent for you lover". He stares the audience down, and it's clear there's something to this. The song is aggressive and sleazy. It sounds somewhere between Pulp and New Order, but these comparisons come only from the fact that it's good and it's sexy. Driven with skittering techno beats and soaring synthesizer, this song is speaking hard. The band swaggers. There is the male singer, and next to him a femme (fatale? c'est bien possible). The song breaks for a moment, and the beats fill the gap. She begins to sing. "Touch me one more time and I will have to touch you". Fuck. Fuck that was hot.

"Who is this", I ask a girl dancing next to me who seems to be firmly in the know. "Stars. From Montreal. Aren't they amazing?!", she smiles. I nod.

The next song is beautiful, with the male singer conducting the band with radiant finesse. The band is incredible. The synth player is a genius, switching between perfect piano work, techno beat making, and even playing a French horn. It is simply amazing. The drummer and bassist are masters of their craft as well and the performance is one of ease. On stage, Stars remind me of Hedwig and The Angry Inch, that kind of incredible presence combined with charm and incredible tunes. Stars, however are as real as a band can be, and they gracefully accept the crowds (now sizeable) requests for an encore.

Thank you Stars, I love the EP and I will see you all again! (Torq, the horizons you seek are closer then ever, and thank you for broadening mine.)

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