Jakarta. The city's indie-pop fans were offered a pre-Valentine’s Day treat by the team at Prasvana on Friday night (12/02). The promoters, behind some of the city’s recent shows including Mac DeMarco and Neon Indian last year, introduced Canadian pop darlings Stars to a fanatic crowd at Soehanna Hall, SCBD, marking the first time the group has played in Indonesia.
Opening the show on the rained out night was the city’s own Scaller. The genre-hopping outfit moves seamlessly from low-key electro beat heartbreak reminiscent of the XX at their peak, to crunching alt-rock, making the locals a natural fit for a Stars’ stage. Singers Reney Karamoy andStella Gareth share duties and both boast voices which could fill venues far larger than the intimate Soehanna Hall.
Rallying cry “The Youth,” the set’s closer, is destined to be a rock anthem and showcases the best of the band — soaring vocals, heaving guitar and an impulsive structure which left the growing crowd dazed.
Scaller, virtually unknown to much of Jakarta’s audience after forming only in 2013, ended the set with a room full of converts and a fast-selling EP, “1991.”
Stars took over the stage for the first time ever in Jakarta. Greeted like the long-lost friends the Canadian five-piece are to many in the city, the group was clearly visibly moved by the raucous welcome.
Co-singer Amy Milan, trailing her fellow members, was the obvious crowd favorite, inducing cheers so loud it threatened to drown out the band who had already launched into their set.
Amy thanked Jakarta for the warm welcome and lamented the 30 hour trip it took to arrive. With Indonesia and Canada on the exact opposite side of the world from each other, she said, it’s impressive to travel such a distance to find a passionate crowd.
As promised by singer Torquil Campbell, Stars jumped between songs from across the band’s sizable back-catalog. In between songs Torquil apologized repeatedly to fans for his failing voice — despite the rapturous applause acting as forgiveness.
Torquil spoke of how upsetting it is to finally make it to Jakarta, only to have his voice let him down. Promises of returning soon satisfied fans who helped the singer by taking over vocals in a crowd-strong sing-a-long during his weaker moments.
The extent of Jakarta’s passion repeatedly shocked the band, who appeared moved every single time the crowd screamed along with the band.
As Amy introduced the next song, “Elevator Love Letter” from 2003 album "Heart," the crowd once against erupted. It caught her unaware as she shared glances among her bandmates, apparently floored a song 13 years old still carries the power to sway a crowd half the world away.
Leaving Jakarta fist-pumping along to the “put your hands up ‘cause everyone dies” refrain from 2014 single “No One is Lost,” Stars promised to return soon. And if Friday’s crowd was any indication, there will always be passionate fans waiting to welcome them.