buttonThe Stills @ Ebisu Liquid Room (8th Nov. '04)

Mostly Business

the stills
Before we get started I want to give big props to whoever decided to play Broken Social Scene's deservingly acclaimed album, You Forgot It In People, while the crew was preparing for The Stills to come on stage. Awe-inspiringly good, hopefully this collective of Toronto's finest independent musicians will make it to Nippon sometime soon. Now let's get back to the task at hand, which is of course informing you, our dear reader and intelligent music fan, about what happened when another highly touted Canadian band, The Stills, recently performed in Tokyo.
the stills

Plowing through Logic's first three songs, the quintet (the group's four members and travelling keyboardist Liam O'Neil) allowed their powerful playing and theatric songs to speak for them. Pausing briefly to say hello, Fletcher lead his bandmates into "Retour A Vega". Singing in French, his passionate vocals filled the large live house while the extremely talented Dave Hamelin simultaneously drummed and played a tambourine. Looking to experiment with the traditional rock band stage format, Hamelin's drum set was placed at the front of the stage, giving attendees a better opportunity to view his awesome skills.
As feathers fell on the backdrop placed behind them, The Stills kicked into the lead-off track from last year's Logic Will Break Your Heart, "Lola Stars and Stripes". It was evident that the boys were excited to be making their second Japanese appearance in five months. Heck, guitarists Tim Fletcher and Greg Paquet even wore suit jackets and ties for the occasion. Equally impressive was the response of the primarily Japanese audience to the group's dramatic brand of British inspired dream pop. Although their debut full-length was only released in Japan in June, the Liquid Room was packed with die-hard fans that cheered wildly and sang along to every song.

the stills
the stills
The band was in fine musical form as they made their way through their 65 minute set. With a constant parade of child-like stick figure drawings filling the screen on stage, The Stills turned in note-perfect versions of "Love and Death" and "Animals and Insects". A fantastic light show that bathed the group in blue, blood red, and a lot of white light added to the drama being created onstage. Amidst screams of approval, the band closed with "Still in Love". People danced and nodded along as Fletcher's dark, tormented lament soared above the catchy, well-crafted pop tune being turned out by his bandmates. Half-way through the track, bassist Oliver Crowe began leading the audience in a mass clap-along. This, along with Crowe's penchant for excessive rock star poses didn't really lend itself to the mood the band's music and performance had been building. However, in a city where overindulgence is the key to daily survival, many in attendance didn't seem to mind.
the stills

-- set list - -

Lola Stars and Stripes
Gender Bombs
Changes Are No Good
Retour A Vega
Of Montreal
Love and Death
Ready For It
Animals and Insects
Still In Love
Killer Bees
Halo the Harpoon
Yesterday Never Tomorrows
Re-emerging for a three-song encore, The Stills chose to perform the brand new "Halo the Harpoon" for the first time. Prior to beginning Fletcher turned to the rest of the group and said, "Don't fuck up, seriously." His message didn't fall upon deaf ears and the band played the keyboard heavy, soaring rock number without any evident mistakes. A drum machine kept the beat as Hamelin handled vocals for "Yesterday Never Tomorrows". Fletcher and Crowe climbed atop of the speakers on stage while Hamelin crooned and bopped around as Logic Will Break Your Heart's album cover was projected in the background. Wanting to join in, the crowd began jumping and clapping to the tune of the electro-pop number. Although the bulk of the show was spent showcasing how serious and business-like they can be, in the end The Stills proved that deep down they are just a bunch of fun loving Canadians looking to play some enjoyable music and have a good time.

the stills
the stills

report by shawn and photo by mari
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buttonmag files : The Stills

buttonphoto report : (04/11/09 @ Shinsaibashi Club Quattro) : photo by yegg
buttonMostly Business : (04/11/08 @ Ebisu Liquid Room) : review by shawn, photo by mari
buttonphoto report : (04/11/08 @ Ebisu Liquid Room) : photo by mari

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