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Stars, Andrew Collberg

Rialto Theatre, Thursday, Nov. 8

The Rialto Theatre looks to be in the final throes of its blitzkrieg of amazing (and fund-draining, for local music lovers) shows. After this coming week, hipsters can take a brief breather and save up for Modest Mouse in December.

Though the previous night saw an American act called Of Montreal at the Rialto, last Thursday, Tucson got a visit from a multi-talented supergroup actually based out of Canada--Montreal's Stars.

Opening was local folk-pop-phenom Andrew Collberg, who spent the past summer working at a restaurant on an island off the coast of Maine with fellow musician Will Elliott. (Apparently much collaborative writing went on, though Elliott hasn't returned. Very suspicious.)

Collberg debuted a new song, which he called "The Man in the Moo Suit." It was so Lennonesque, I couldn't help but think of those versions of "Strawberry Fields Forever" or "I Am the Walrus" off the Anthology compilation, in which you slowly hear the psychedelic tunes evolve from acoustic numbers. I got chills up my spine thinking about what he may add to the final recording in his home studio.

Stars had the stage decked out in floral arrangements with hundreds of roses attached to instruments and mic stands, all flanked by framed dainty silhouettes. The six-member band, which includes lead singer Torquil Campbell of Broken Social Scene (yet another Canadian supergroup), led the audience through a sampling of their 6-year career while relating anecdotes from the road, such as their trip to the Grand Canyon during which they ate mushrooms and saw an eagle--an event which, considering that state of mind, would have surely thrown me off a cliff, both figuratively and literally.

My personal favorites included the synth-pop guilty pleasure "Elevator Love Letter," off 2003's Heart; and the dreamy love song "Personal" and "The Ghost of Genova Heights"--the latter of which channels Michael Jackson falsettos during the chorus--both off the spankin'-new release In Our Bedroom After the War.

Being a sickening Morrissey fan, my ultimate highlight was Stars' encore cover of the Smiths' "This Charming Man," which appears on Stars' 2001 release Nightsongs. Amy Millan sang the song with a gentle touch as the band pulled sort of a reverse-Morrissey and threw the roses out into the crowd. Charming, indeed.

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