Written by Kax Uson || Photos by Kris Rocha
HEART was the first STARS song that I fell in love with. Mostly because the first time I heard it, it struck a chord in my own heart and made it bleed. I was 18 (or 19, I can’t remember) and I was in love with a boy that made my head spin and my stomach somersault. I was in love with a boy but I didn’t think he was in love with me. Crazy romance that lasted a few months and ended in vain but I couldn’t bring myself to get over him. And then I found the song that perfectly described everything that I was feeling but couldn’t bring to say.The hard luck GodYou never had a chance you know Incurable romantics never doHe held the flame I wasn’t born to carry
I’ll leave the dying young stuff up to you
You get back on the latest flight to paradise
I found out from a note taped to the doorI think I saw your airplane in the sky tonight
Through my window, lying on the kitchen floor
My 18 year old broken heart didn’t stand a chance. And STARS became a permanent fixture in my mixes. Apparently they had a song for every situation I was in, for every emotion that I was feeling.
Fast forward to nearly 10 years later, I found myself in front of a beautifully lit stage, goosebumps and heart pounding — anticipating the band that put words to my feelings to come on stage. I was excited, to say the least. And then they finally came on stage and my heart was just about ready to burst.
They started playing their songs and the crowd went wild. I couldn’t hear myself from all the screaming. All around me, people of different ages and race were singing along to the songs, dancing and jumping and people would look at each other and smile. We were all connected, somehow. We knew that we all went through heart aches and heart breaks and STARS held our hand through these days. We all shared that.
After they sang “Walls” from their album, “North”, the band walked off the stage. I knew that it was a bluff. They had to have an encore. You can’t end a concert without one. But I was still in some sort of panic. They still haven’t played “Calendar Girl”, my anthem. The crowd was chanting “More”, never wavering.
And then they came back. And the first song they played was “My Favorite Book”. Somebody told me after the concert that this was the first time they played this song in this tour. But I didn’t really care much for that fact. All I cared about was that they played “My Favorite Book”. And then the waterworks started once again. They also played “On Peak Hill” and “One More Night” — the latter hitting quite close to home.
And then they finally played “Calendar Girl”. When they played the first note, I was already crying. I already knew what they were going to play. My friends and I were hugging and screaming/singing every single word to the song. With feelings. With so much feelings.
That night was amazing, to say the least. STARS was one of those bands who really loved to perform. They danced to every song and talked to their audience and were as grateful for that evening as much as we, the audience, were.
I’ve been to other concerts before, of bands that I would like to count as one of my favorites too — but this was the first show that really got to me. I walked away from the venue remembering everything that has happened for the past 10 years and grateful that they happened to me. I walked away from the venue remembering that for every moment, for every love, for every heart break, for every success or failure there is a song to help you celebrate or even mourn. And that everything you’re going through, everything you’re feeling is OK– because it just makes you more human, more real… more you.
My friends and I were joking that if they played our favorite songs we would end up a bawling mess after.
They played “Your Ex-Lover Is Dead”. And I never thought the screams could get any louder, but they did. I could hear the people behind me asking themselves why they were crying. I turned around and was not surprised that I was looking at grown men and women (more or less my age. Yes, I’m a grown woman), laughing and crying and singing along to the songs all at the same time. My friends and I were in the same state, squeezing each others hands and shoulders and without words we were telling each other how we were feeling at that exact same moment. We were all bursting at the seams with our 18-year old unrequited feelings and memories of being locked up in our rooms with a bottle of the cheapest wine bought from the nearest 711 with the album, “Set Yourself On Fire” on loop.
Song after song, they killed us. Song after song, they revived us. They played nearly all of my favorite songs. “Dead Hearts”, “Elevator Love Letter”, “Take Me To The Riot”, “Do You Want To Die Together”, and of course “Hearts”. Then there were songs that they played that I didn’t know the words to, but they hit me anyway.