How did you spend your Valentine’s Day? I’m one of the lucky few who got to spend mine with my one true love… music, that is. This past Saturday, I was serenaded by two of Canada’s sweetest bands, Hey Rosetta! and Stars.
If you haven’t seen Hey Rosetta! live, GO. This was my third time seeing the Newfoundland collective, and I’m not sure if it was the perceived romance of the night, but they put on one of the most passionate performances I have seen from them. Thunderous percussion, orchestral strings, classically inspired keys and folk rock guitars all rushed and spun together. Soaring vocals filled the vaulted space at the Danforth Music Hall, driving home that Tim Baker has one of the best voices in indie music, whether he’s harmonizing with singers Kinley Dowling and Mara Pellerin, or belting out the beautiful ballads that Hey Rosetta! is known for. Thanks Hey Rosetta! for the best Valentine’s Day present ever, an incredible performance of “Red Heart” (is there a more appropriate Vday song in existence?), as well as a beautiful rendition of “Yer Spring,” a poignant and heartfelt song that pricked tears behind my eyes and thrilled the entire crowd. Their symphonic meets kitchen party performance was the perfect thing to warm the crowd up for the main event.
It wasn’t long before the stars of the night, pardon my pun, took the stage. Stars are another band that you just need to see live. I love watching them perform so much that I ventured out alone, on Valentine’s Day into a den of dates, couples and even an indie rock wedding reception, all for the sake of getting my annual dose of their gorgeous music. Stars dove right into “From the Night,” the band’s powerhouse vocal front couple/not really a couple, Amy Millan and Torquil Campbell, harmonizing as perfectly as ever, in between Amy dancing adorably next to real life partner, bassist Evan Cranley. After the perky “We Don’t Want Your Body,” Campbell informed the crowd of another apt Valentine’s Day music moment: that day marked the 12th anniversary of their album Heart. The great moments continued as “Hold On When You Get Love and Let Go When You Give It” marked the return of Hey Rosetta!, decked out in their ’80s aerobic finest, rockin’ some fine dance moves, and driving the crowd to an indie music geek freak outs of epic proportions. Soon it was the crowd’s turn to showcase their dance moves (or maybe that was just me…) as Campbell showed off his own incredible pipes on “Trap Door.” And if you weren’t convinced that he may have the actual best voice in indie music, Campbell positively sang his heart out on “Take Me to the Riot,” My favorite moment, however, may have been when Campbell and Millan dedicated “Your Ex-Lover is Dead” to the singles in the crowd in what may have been the greatest crowd shout-out ever.
Your mission, should you choose to accept it — and you should — is to go see both of these bands as soon as you can. It may not be as romantic as a Valentine ’s Day show by yourself, but you’ll come to love Hey Rosetta! and Stars just as much as I do every single day of the year.
*photos by Rick Clifford