Stellastar* at the Middle East on February 16

A Review of Stellastar* at the Middle East (Downstairs) on February 16, 2007

, Staff

Although Stellastarr* recently split with RCA records, the band’s performance at the last stop of their self-sponsored tour did not exhibit any insecurities, financial or otherwise. After a quick “Hello my friends” from lead singer Shawn Christensen, Stellastarr* got right to the music in the packed downstairs room of The Middle East in Cambridge on Friday night.

The New York band started off slow, playing a couple lesser-known songs and a new, nondescript song tentatively titled “The People.” Stellastarr* hit their stride after Christensen announced to the crowd, “Now, some songs from The Haunting,” and began to strum the first few chords of “Sweet Troubled Soul.” Exploding at this familiar sound, the audience became Stellastarr*’s fifth band member for the rest of the night.

After playing a few high-energy songs, including their new MySpace single “War Child,” Stellastarr* finally got to the good stuff 30 minutes into their hour-long set. The crowd became a sea of bobbing, chanting heads as Christensen belted the hits “In the Walls,” “Somewhere Across Forever,” and “Jenny.”

During the set, the band’s hysteria was exponentially increasing along with the crowd’s mounting cheers. Toward the end of the performance, Christensen was stumbling around the stage dancing in jerky robotic motions, while guitarist Michael Jurin was rocking-out on his knees. Drummer Arthur Kremer was more sedate, but showed his Stellastarr* spirit with the group’s token punctuation taped on the right side of his bare chest. Sticking out in the sea of emotion was bassist Amanda Tannen, who slowly swayed back and forth for the bulk of the performance. Even worse, her backup vocals reminded me part of The Little Mermaid, when Ariel got her voice stolen by Ursula – the sea witch. Thankfully the rest of the band’s liveliness made up for their one seemingly entranced member.

Luckily for Stellastarr*, the audience’s intensity did not wan and the band finished up the show with an encore of a new song plainly titled “Winter Song,” and an all-out performance of “My Coco.”

Stellastarr* didn’t always get the timing right with their songs, but at least the crowd walked away with a good feeling. When the band came back for their encore Jurin said to the crowd, “We want to thank you, because on a cold night you made us feel so warm.” I think the feeling was mutual.

Leave a Reply