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Canadian romanticists Stars have made five albums of keening bedroom pop, and over the years inflating their boy-girl ditties for presentation on big stages has proven a daunting task and produced uneven results.
But abetted by dazzling light show and a soap bubble machine on Friday night at the Wiltern, Stars had no trouble turning their music into grand theater. Rarely has a batch of songs about unrequited love, loss and death gotten such sparkly treatment.
||| Photos by Laurie Scavo
At the front, Torquil Campbell and Amy Millan were at their respective bests – Campbell earnest and borderline obsequious (in his charming-man kind of way), thanking Los Angeles profusely for fans’ longtime support of the band, and Millan more reserved but inhabiting the band’s songs serenely. Neither was quite firing on all cylinders early on (which made for a slightly rough “Elevator Love Letter”), but “Your Ex-Lover Is Dead” and “Take Me to the Riot” found their mark. And then there was Millan doing a sit-down, acoustic take on “Ageless Beauty,” a perfect mid-set break from all the fireworks.
Things got shadowy and silhouette-y onstage for some of the songs from Stars’ new album “The Five Ghosts,” but as the veterans from north of the border showed, they aren’t ready to become apparitions themselves.