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9:30 Club

Photo by Robert Redfield, courtesy of Elastic Artists.

Photo by Robert Redfield, courtesy of Elastic Artists.

D.C. has waited a long time for up-and-coming Canadian singer Mac DeMarco.

DeMarco, with his new indie-pop album “Salad Days,” played the last show of his U.S. tour Saturday night at the 9:30 Club.

The line of teenagers, dressed much like DeMarco in white shirts and baseball caps, flowed off the sidewalk hours before doors even opened for the show that sold out almost immediately after tickets went on sale in April.

The crowd could not control its excitement for the Canadian idol. Even as Mac DeMarco and his touring band watched the opening acts from the balcony, fans pointed him out to their friends and took pictures of him with their phones.

DeMarco finally stepped on stage. His songs are often described as “jizz jazz,” with the swing and flow of the rhythm complementing a giddy chorus.

“This song’s called Martha Stewart’s pussy,” DeMarco joked before playing the comforting song “Blue Boy.”

From the moment the band started playing its first song, “Salad Days,” the entire crowd sang along with DeMarco until the end of the set. DeMarco fed off the crowd, staring into fans’ eyes to “find a vibe” and thanking them for paper notes they handed him.

Everything that could happen at a concert did. Someone requested “Free Bird” – and the band delivered. About 30 people crowd-surfed, including band members and DeMarco. “Rock and Roll Night Club,” one of DeMarco’s most well-known hits, made it on the setlist with bassist Pierce McGarry’s usual high-pitched ending.

In his “Simpsons” tee, DeMarco belted out the lyrics to “Cooking Up Something Good,” with maniacal screams.

Mosh pits don’t usually come with bands as easygoing as this one, but DeMarco’s psychedelic, jazz-inspired rock had kids pushing and jumping around all night.

The band’s jokes broke up the setlist and sent the show on entertaining tangents.

“I’d like to preface this next song with some medical knowledge,” said McGarry.

The bassist informed the crowd that if you’re depressed, you should try using leeches to cheer up. Then he sang Coldplay’s “Yellow” in his now-famous whinny hollering. Hundreds in the audience took out their lighters and sang along.

The night ended with an encore of two covers,“Enter Sandman” and “Smoke on the Water,” leaving all happily basking in the rock vibes.

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Summer may be winding down, but that doesn’t mean you have to follow suit. Keep your week alive with some concerts, comedy and films.

Monday

Ceremony at Rock & Roll Hotel: All the way from California, the punk-rock band Ceremony is coming to the Rock & Roll Hotel. The group has toured with rock bands like AFI, and its pre-hardcore, punk-inspired songs are sure to get you in a rocking mood.

La Bomba! Stand Up Comedy at Little Miss Whiskey’s Golden Dollar: Punk rock not your thing? Head out to this weekly stand-up comedy show instead. Free and 21+.

Tuesday

Us the Duo at 9:30 Club: A love story for the ages: Michael and Carissa Alvarado fell in love and started writing music together before becoming Us the Duo. Their soft pop-folk songs and covers skyrocketed them to internet fame. Their beatbox-infused duets made them stars on Vine, and now you can catch them at the 9:30 Club for $20.

The Clientele at Black Cat: Experience a little more of the pop-rock genre with The Clientele at Black Cat. Catch the British band for just $15.

moonrise-kingdom-international-posterWednesday

“Moonrise Kingdom” at the Bethesda Outdoor Movie Series: Head out to Bethesda to catch this Wes Anderson favorite outside. The movie will start when the sun goes down at about 9 p.m. A limited number of seats are available, but you can bring your own chair or blanket. Maybe it’s time to crack out that GW towel you got at Colonial Inauguration.

Coen Brothers Double Feature at Washington Jewish Community Center: For just $12, you can see “A Serious Man” and “The Big Lebowski” back to back. The first showing is at 6:30 p.m., followed by the second at 8:30 p.m. Don’t want to spend the whole evening watching movies? Your ticket is good for two movies that week, so you can always catch the next one on Thursday, Saturday or Sunday.

Thursday

Official Flume Afterparty at U Street Music Hall: Couldn’t get tickets to the sold-out Flume show? Tickets to this 18+ event are $10. If you are going to the Flume show, you get in for free with your ticket stub or 9:30 Club stamp.

Hospitality and Ex Hex at Rock & Roll Hotel: Catch these female-fronted rock bands at the Rock & Roll Hotel. Hospitality is touring to promote its latest album, “Trouble,” which earned a 7.5 rating on Pitchfork. Tickets are only $13.

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This post was written by Hatchet staff writer Everly Jazi.

Lead singer Jordan Lee of Mutual Benefit. Photo courtesy of the Windish Agency.

Singer-songwriter Jordan Lee of Mutual Benefit. Photo courtesy of the Windish Agency.

Before other musicians joined Jordan Lee on stage, Mutual Benefit started as a solo project with a second-hand karaoke machine.

But last Saturday, the collaborative project, known for its heavy use of string instruments like violins and guitars, opened for indie-rockers Wild Beasts and played for a full house at the 9:30 Club.

The band’s performance struck the same melodic outline as the album tracks, but with several recording group members skipping the tour, improvisation from the artists on stage filled the gaps.

After collaborating with many musicians, Mutual Benefit has a consistent lineup for this tour that performs well together.

Lee, whose first breakout success came last fall, started Mutual Benefit in 2009 with the eerie “Figure in Black” EP.

“At first, it was just a solo recording project,” Lee said. “I was playing in a rock band in Texas and I wanted to have an outlet for other kinds of music, and I went to the thrift store and I bought a broken karaoke machine that recorded right on to a cassette player.”

He said the musicians he works with now “occupy some position in between” touring members and bandmates. A couple of members on tour contributed to “Love’s Crushing Diamond,” but Lee said he doesn’t know who he wants to have on the next record.

“I guess for better or for worse, it’s a flexible thing. But I’ve really, really been enjoying playing with this lineup,” he said.

After headlining a sold-out show at the Black Cat in February, Mutual Benefit played for a mixed crowd during its opening performance at the 9:30 Club. As they set up, the bandmates joked that they had convinced the U.K.-based Wild Beasts that they were a big deal in the U.S.

Tours with big crowds are a new experience for the band. Lee, who spent the last two years playing house shows, said he was nervous before his performance at the 1,200-capacity 9:30 Club, even after he recently had higher-profile exposure on popular radio shows.

“Even being on KEXP or even playing a venue like the Independent in San Francisco that I’ve always wanted to play, but then seeing what it’s like on the back end and talking to the hospitality guys and stuff like that, it just kind of makes everything less magical than how you hoped it would be,” Lee said.

As the heavy drum ending of “Advanced Falconry” gave new life to a normally softer sound, the crowd pulsed with the rhythm. Even the Wild Beast fans, who did not seem to jive with the opener, swayed a little.

Lee has only written a couple of songs since the album, but hopes to record his next project in the Columbus Theatre recording studio in Rhode Island.

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Fourth of July celebrations dominated last week, but the red, white and blue won’t be here to yank you out of bed and pry you away from Netflix this weekend.

Made it through another week of your internship and looking for something to do? Here are a few options to make your mid-July weekend more than just some R&R.

Photo courtesy of the official Morrison Brothers Band Facebook page.

Photo courtesy of the official Morrison Brothers Band Facebook page.

Friday

The Morrison Brothers Band at 9:30 Club: The L.A.-based country band, known for touring with Keith Urban, Alison Krauss and Tim McGraw, will perform at the 9:30 Club with Amy Wilcox. Tickets are $20.

Saturday

Once you’ve watched the Netherlands and Brazil fight for a third-place finish in the World Cup, the 9:30 Club has the grooves to celebrate a win or forget defeat.

Wild Beasts at 9:30 Club: Wild Beasts are bringing their 80s-inspired sound on Saturday night. One-man band Mutual Benefit will open for the group. Tickets are $20.

Sunday

World Cup watch parties: The World Cup has captivated the nation, even a town that is hyper-focused on politics. And now the final match is here: Germany vs. Argentina. It’s going to be intense, so pick a side and grab some friends (and a beer).

Cheering on Lionel Messi and Argentina? Head out to Del Campo.

Have a preference for the well-organized team play of Germany? Then Biergarten Haus is the place for you.

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Sir Sly From left: Jason Suwito, Landon Jacobs and Hayden Coplen

Sir Sly band members (from left) Jason Suwito, Landon Jacobs and Hayden Coplen. Photo courtesy of The Windish Agency.

Before their sold-out show at the 9:30 Club this week with The 1975, the band members of Sir Sly – a Los Angeles trio comprised of Landon Jacobs, Jason Suwito and Hayden Coplen – sat down to discuss their upcoming album, why they wouldn’t copy Led Zeppelin’s writing style and the time their trailer broke near the Canada-U.S. border. The interview has been edited for length.

Hatchet: Your sound aesthetic is very distinct. Had you always intended to put a darker, moodier twist on indie rock or did that happen naturally after the three of you began making music together?

Landon Jacobs: Jason and I got together and wrote the first song, “Ghost,” and it started I think. Originally it was just on the guitar, and then the first thing that happened was that synth bass sound and then the darkness came from there (laughs). And lyrically, the content is all pretty dark as well. So musically, it follows. There’ll be a few songs on the full-length that won’t be as dark, but the stuff we’ve released so far has that cross between electronic and real instrumentation.

Hatchet: How does that affect your live performances? Do you find it difficult to strike a balance between the acoustic and electronic in your live shows?

Jacobs: I’m really excited for you to see it tonight, actually. I feel pretty proud of the way that it’s been able to translate into a live experience. It’s hard to say this from the inside, I guess, but to me it comes across as a little harder, and people are expecting it to be a little cleaner. But it’s [still] dirty, you know, more of a traditional rock show on stage, just with some electronic elements. Videos like this stripped recording of “Ghost” come from the idea that we’re a band that started on the internet, and that’s where the majority of people were seeing us before we got a chance to play live.

Hatchet: You’ve said before that you’ve mixed 30 to 40 songs in preparation for your album release this year. How do you decide which content you want to use?

Jacobs: Gut instinct, really. There was some disagreement at the end – there were some outliers. There’s 12 or 13 tracks – well, really 11 – that we all really agree on and a couple that we have some disagreements, and those are where we start to nit-pick a little bit more. As far as gut reaction, we all feel really strongly about those and we’re still trying to write some more so that it can feel perfect. Like I would personally put more slow songs on the record, probably, and I don’t think either of these guys would. Those are the types of the discussions we have. It’s all really friendly. There’s no harshness there.

Hatchet: What’s your favorite song that you’re either considering or that will definitely be on the album?

Jacobs: There’s a song called “Helpless.” That’ll be on the record.

Jason Suwito: And there’s a song called “Nowhere” that we actually play live a lot. Yeah, that’s probably my No. 1 favorite. I love that song.

Hayden Coplen: In my opinion, it’s one of the most emotionally charged moments on the album. There’s an instrumental section that feels like a palate cleanser. It’ll be in the middle of the album, so it’s good timing, too.

Hatchet: Tell me about the tour. You’ve played a string of sold-out shows with the Bad Suns and The 1975.

Jacobs: It’s been insane. We’re definitely guests on this tour, but it feels good to know that we’re carving out a little space in fans’ hearts night by night. They come and they show up and they’re really excited to see – in most cases – the one band that they know. And they all show up early, which is amazing. It’s fun to play in front of people who are open and excited to hear new music.

Coplen: The audiences of these shows have been fantastic. I mean, it skews toward a younger age but they’re intelligent and discerning. They hear music all the time. Some people have the impression that because they’re younger they’re into anything – but that’s not the case. There’s a lot of competition, there’s a lot of bands vying for their attention. And in some ways that’s a refreshing challenge to know that you’re going to go on stage first. You can be fighting an uphill battle and you have to go play your ass off and work hard and [show] that these are songs you care about.

Hatchet: When you’re not on tour, how often are you playing?

Jacobs: Never (laughs). We practice a lot in rehearsals and write a lot, but we almost never do one-off shows. We had a new song we had that we were going to throw into the set, before South by Southwest, actually, and we practiced for like a week or two before that, and then we practiced for another week or two before this tour. We want it to be perfect.

Writing is how we spend most of our down time. We don’t jam. We jam more during sound checks, and that’s because the other two bands we’ve been playing with jam a lot during sound check, too. But to me, it’s useless. I don’t know, songs are really important to me. I don’t think I could ever write something important while I’m jamming. I don’t know. That might be really rude to someone who writes while jamming. ‘You can’t record while you’re jamming, Led Zeppelin.’

Hatchet: What’s your craziest, weirdest or most memorable moment on tour?

Suwito: A trailer fell off. Right by the border. We were in Canada coming into the U.S. and just hit a speed bump and heard this crash behind us. Was that the most memorable moment of this tour, really? (laughs). We’re pretty meticulous so crazy things don’t usually happen to us. I guess going to the fan trailer and having kids lined up for pictures and stuff is crazy.

Coplen: It’s been wild. Like playing at Terminal 5 was amazing. I don’t get rattled playing shows. I’m more comfortable there than at most places, and T5 made me nervous. That never happens. Hopefully someday we’ll come back and headline.

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Thursday, May 8, 2014 10:02 p.m.

HAIM rocks first 9:30 Club show

Emily Holland | Culture Editor

Left to right: Alana Haim, Danielle Haim and Este Haim. Emily Holland | Hatchet Staff Photographer

HAIM rocked the 9:30 Club in a guitar-infused flurry of hair flips, fist pumps and shouts Wednesday.

The band, comprised of lead singer and guitarist Danielle Haim, bassist Este Haim and rhythm guitarist and percussionist Alana Haim, had its first of two sold-out performances at the popular District venue.

After some riling, the crowd jammed along with the three sisters. HAIM’s sound, often called a mix of Fleetwood Mac mixed and R&B, doesn’t lend itself to crazy dancing, but the sisters had high expectations for the crowd.

“I want to see some asses shake,” Este said as she pounded her bass with a ferocity that made the speakers rattle to “My Song 5.”

Este Haim playing the bass | Culture Editor Emily Holland

Este Haim’s nickname is “Bass Face,” which comes from the animated expressions she makes while strumming. Emily Holland | Hatchet Staff Photographer

All three sisters made a point to talk with the audience, even turning on the house lights so that they could better see the crowd.

With only one full album to fill their set, fans were guaranteed to hear their favorite songs. Plus, the band added a hard-hitting cover of Fleetwood Mac’s “Oh Well” to the mix.

HAIM fit the 9:30 Club’s vibe perfectly. The trio wasn’t interested in any big production. With the sisters poking fun at each other, the show didn’t feel so much like a performance as it did a family bonding experience.

The group showed some sibling rivalry as each band member compared her section to the others, boasting that her own was the most energetic. They picked favorites among the crowd and vied for the audience’s whole-hearted affection.

Lead singer Danielle Haim | Culture Editor Emily Holland

Lead singer Danielle Haim. Emily Holland | Hatchet Staff Photographer

“If you’re not dancing, I’m not looking at you,” Alana said, convincing the people who weren’t in her line of sight to jump and scream.

They showed a mastery of their instruments, with each playing a string instrument and some percussion, adding to the other sister’s versatility. While most of the vocals on the album came from Danielle, both Este and Alana had the opportunity to sing at least one full song.

The night took a turn from spunky rock songs when the group performed the more solemn “Running if You Call My Name,” and Alana asked the audience to help her sing the lyrics.

But after the emotional interlude, the pep was back, including an encore of their hit single “The Wire” and a final drum collaboration at the end of “Let Me Go.” The sisters whipped their hair, pounded their drums and played the songs in a final burst of energy.

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Interview by Hatchet Staff reporter Carson Rolleri

Photo courtesy of Delta Rae's Facebook page.

Photo courtesy of Delta Rae’s Facebook page.

A summer festival favorite is coming straight into the heart of D.C.’s music scene.

Six-member Americana folk rock band Delta Rae, named Time Magazine’s band to watch in 2013, is a group defined by bellowing vocals and soulful lyrics, looks to bring their new EP, “Chasing Twisters,” to the 9:30 Club Feb. 15.

The Hatchet spoke with the singer of the band’s current single, “If I Loved You,” Elizabeth Hopkins, about touring, their new music and the diplomatic processes that exist between a band of four singers.

Hatchet: So how did you come up with the band title, “Delta Rae”?

Hopkins: Three people in our band are siblings, the fair-haired Hölljes kids, and their mother is a writer. She was working on a novel at the same time our band was starting about a girl named Delta Rae whose father is in a coma, and she awakens the Greek gods to help her awaken her father. The book takes place in the south and we were a band that was coming of age in the south as well. And it just felt very aligned with what we were doing because a big part of our sound and landscape that we like to tell stories in is southern and gothic and mystical. The name is also related to the Greek gods and larger, mythical stories. The character is a very adventurous risk-taker and I think we are also that as a band.

Hatchet: You mentioned there are four of you that sing. So how do you, as a band, decide who sings what song?

Hopkins: The writers, Dan and Eric, will complete a song on their own and then they bring it to the group and they play it for us. And usually in the course of it being played to us, we can sometimes just feel where the song feels right, because we’ve been working together for so long and know each other so well. We’ve never really had a disagreement about who should sing what song. We all have different vocal ranges. It’s usually that something feels right and something sinks in. Like Ian will sing it and we’ll say, “That’s you man, it’s awesome.” Or one of us will jump up and say, “I want to try it!”  and then one of the girls tries it  and it feels great, or if it doesn’t we all move on and have someone else try it. But it’s usually a very diplomatic process. And a song will speak to someone in a very specific and personal way, and that’s usually who ends up singing it.

Hatchet: Can you tell me a little about your new EP, “Chasing Twisters,” and how it’s different from your first album?

Hopkins: “Chasing Twisters” came out in November. It’s a five song collection with a rerecording of “Dance in the Graveyards,” which we also had on our debut album “Carry the Fire.” This recording is a little more robust and loud and more true to form in the way the song ended up evolving live. And then we have “If I Loved You,”  which is our current single, which we were very fortunate to have Lindsey Buckingham play twelve-string guitar, and join us and collaborate with us on that. That was a dream come true that I think all of us still have a hard time believing. That such a legendary guitar player from a band that we all really respect wanted to work with us on that song. And the title track, “Chasing Twisters,” which has a cow-boy feeling to it, very western, and makes me think about rolling, south-western landscapes. And this song was really inspired on some of the nights that we were driving through the Southwest when we were on tour.  And then you’ve got “Run,” which is this super high energy, big, percussive, triumphant, joyful, anthem.  Anyway, we are really excited about this EP and it’s the material we are most proud of to date, and it’s really just an appetizer for our album, which is going to be coming out in Fall. And this album is full of songs that we never have performed live for anyone that we’ve currently are getting ready for the road. And we are really excited for the “Chasing Twisters” tour. It’s a new phase for Delta Rae that’s more passionate, and bigger.

Hatchet: What’s your favorite part about being on tour?

Hopkins: It is really connecting with audience members. The moment when I look into someone’s eyes and they are singing the song that I’m singing right back to me, it’s unlike any other feeling I’ve ever had.

Hatchet: What’s it like to record and tour simultaneously?

Hopkins: We are a very tour-heavy band.  For the most part, we were a band that was sort of born live. We were touring for two years before we ever recorded anything. Recording happened after we grew into our song, into who we were and what we wanted to sound like.  We wanted a way to transfer all of the sweat and the energy and the percussion into it. There’s moments during the show where all six of us are banging on something. So it’s very loud and it’s kind of a visual experience, and I think it can feel very freeing for people to know that they don’t have to be a drummer to feel a song or to feel a beat. I think that everyone has that capacity within themselves to feel something so much that they can’t just sing, that they have to play something, whether it’s banging on a drumstick or a bass drum. I read something written last year about Delta Rae where they described the band as three siblings, four singers, and six drummers.

Hatchet: Will you be playing songs from your upcoming album?

Hopkins: We will be playing some of the new stuff on tour! People should come out because of course we will be playing songs from “Chasing Twisters EP”, but new songs from the album will be sprinkled throughout, including songs that are even not on the album. So we are keeping everyone on their toes. And we are so excited to come to the 9:30 Club in February!

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An artist's rendering of the movie theater's lobby. Photo courtesy of The JBG Cos.

An artist’s rendering of the movie theater’s lobby. Photo courtesy of The JBG Cos.

Want to catch a movie near U Street?

Landmark Theatres, which specializes in independent films, will bring a six-screen movie theater to 8th and V streets next year, the Washington Post reported Wednesday.

The theater, Landmark’s fourth in the D.C. area, will be part of a mixed-use development down the street from the 9:30 Club, and the lobby will feature an indoor-outdoor cafe. Atlantic Plumbing, a development from The JBG Cos., will include 310 residential units, artist studios and 11,500 square feet of retail space in addition to the movie theater.

Landmark announced in November that it would open a theater in the NoMa neighborhood as well. The chain has also partnered with JBG for the project, which will wrap up in 2016.

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This post was written by Hatchet reporter Margaret Kahn.

Kate Nash may be on a mission to outdo James Franco, the unchallenged king of multitasking.

The singer chuckled at the comparison, but can’t deny that she’s been busy. These days, Nash’s agenda includes acting, managing her own record label and overseeing an organization with the aim of empowering young girls, Rock ‘N’ Roll for Girls After School Music Club.

Kate Nash performing in 2010. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Kate Nash performing in 2010. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

“I have a lot of energy,” Nash told The Hatchet. “I thrive off doing a lot of different things.”

Nash is performing a sold-out show at the 9:30 Club Nov. 11 at 7 p.m., and she’ll show shot off a musical repertoire that has evolved from soft, quippy tracks to heavy, punk-inspired singles.

Nash’s debut album, 2007’s “Made of Bricks,” was composed of simple tunes that employed Nash’s lilting voice over piano and an occasional drum machine. “Girl Talk,” released in March, is thrashing and loud, full of clanging drums and guitars.

“What I’ve gone through, some of my difficult stuff [brought me to punk,]” she said. Nash suffered from a nervous breakdown while touring in 2008.

What’s stayed consistent throughout Nash’s musical career is her thick Cockney accent, always laced with swears, whether she’s telling a bad boyfriend to “stop being a dickhead” or telling him he’s “full of shit.”

But when record label executives dropped her from Fiction Records after disappointing sales on her second album, “My Best Friend is You,” Nash dropped the bitterness and plunged into independent artistry, creating her own record label, Have 10p Records, and produced “Girl Talk” herself.

She also produced the first album of American teen indie band SUPERCUTE! this year.

“It was cool to be on the other side of things. It’s a lot more pressure.” she explained. “Working with someone else, I learned a lot. Now, I think about everything in a completely different way. You think about every single sound, every single note.”

In the midst of touring for her latest album, Nash is also celebrating the third film she has acted in, “Powder Room,” which is slated for a Dec. 6 release in the United Kingdom.

Nash is also maintaining work with the Rock ‘N’ Roll for Girls After School Music Club, which she founded in 2010, to help aspiring young musicians in the United Kingdom.

“A lot of my fans are young girls and they open up to me. I take that very seriously. I felt very frustrated [by sexism in the industry], and I was becoming very bitter,” Nash explained. “I decided to stop moaning and started acting. [I wanted] to be there for girls and try to encourage them.”

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This post was written by Hatchet staff writer Colleen Murphy.

Torquil Campbell ditched a microphone during his band’s encore Monday night, screaming out into the 9:30 Club crowd. Campbell and the rest of the Canadian group Stars like to go off script, throwing some spontaneity into their carefully crafted indie pop sound.

Indie-pop group Stars played the 9:30 Club Monday.

Indie-pop group Stars played the 9:30 Club Monday. Colleen Murphy
| Staff Photographer

On Monday night, the band even reminisced that it first hit the 9:30 Club stage when opening for Death Cab for Cutie in 2005. Now, as Stars ended their yearlong North American tour and after six albums, the band knows it has the credibility and following to enliven its live shows.

The group, led by Amy Millan and Campbell, played in front of a nearly-sold-out crowd in promotion of their September 2012 album, “The North.” The show was opened by Australian pop group High Highs, who toured with Vampire Weekend earlier this year.

Stars last played the 9:30 Club on September 23, 2012. Campbell said it was that show that made them feel, for the first time, like they had a chance to make a living off of their music. 

That was on full display Monday night, as the audience waved flowers throughout the performance, and cheered when Stars mixed things up with a more amped-up, electric vibe for songs like “We Don’t Want Your Body” and “Take Me to the Riot.”

Stars’ biggest hit, “Your Ex-Lover is Dead,” was a singalong with the audience, as was the slow love song “My Favourite Book,” which Millan led as a call and response.

The setlist drew heavily from “The North,” and centered on low-key, lesser-known songs with a few pumped up versions of their biggest hits. Stars opened with “The Night Starts Here,” and dug even deeper into their discography by playing “Krush” from a 2001 EP.

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