The Stars ExplodeMar 5th, 2012 | By Dwight Mabe | Category: Entertainment, Sounds
I ventured out to Chapel Hill to see the CD release party of a new Mitch Easter produced band, The Stars Explode, on Saturday. West End Public is a smallish space whose purpose was originally as an event space for weddings, etc. This night it held the CD release party. The crowd was a bit small but there was a big party on Franklin Street after the Heels crushed Duke.
The opening act was an acoustic duo called Stag. Most of their songs were quite enjoyable – I especially enjoyed the lap steel and acoustic guitar combination. Unfortunately, their set suffered from poor house sound. Second up was a quintet called Bo Modine. Interesting music, especially with cool sonic effects from an Ebow.
The Stars Explode set was the pinnacle of the evening: tight playing, with numerous pop references from the past. Given recent events (like the death of Davy Jones), one song even contained a line or two from “Last Train To Clarksville”. Their CD contains DBs drummer Will Rigby on several tracks. Live, the new drummer is Jason McGee – solid and tight but often difficult to hear due to a lacking sound system. Bassist FJ Ventre wove some funky lines in and around the tunes, not what one usually hears in a power pop band but it worked very well. Guitarist Eric Peterson kept a consistent counter-melody lead guitar, often somewhat reminiscent of Leslie West with the Melody Maker and Marshall amp. Doug Edmunds, lead singer and rhythm guitarist, has a good and interesting voice, very well suited to the genres that make up their basic style. Unfortunately (and this is my only real criticism) many of the vocal parts lie just above his best vocal range. A falsetto voice is a difficult thing for a younger musician to master but the tunes could easily be dropped a bit in keys and then Doug’s voice would be more powerful and upfront. The only tune I didn’t like, a Badfinger cover, really highlighted this. Badfinger is great power pop music, but it is some of the most vocally challenging for anyone to perform.
All in all, a great show but not very well attended. This band has great potential as their experience builds from live and studio performance. Check out the band and get their cd at http://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Stars-Explode/111444090744.