Sept. 18, 2003

Stellastarr* To Take on Chicago For First Time

By Randy J. Klodz

Many music fans have yet to experience a live Stellastarr* performance, but the New York City-based quartet will be making its first ever stop in Chicago when the eclectic rock band opens for The Raveonettes at Metro on Sept. 20.

Stellastarr*--which includes Shawn Christensen on vocals/guitar, Michael Jurin on guitar, Amanda Tannen on bass and backing vocals and Arthur Kremer on drums--have played to few crowds in the States outside of New York City, mostly because the band’s self-titled debut album doesn’t hit stores until Sept. 23--but this hasn’t stopped the band’s steady sale of an advance edition of the album. Members have been selling the advance at stops throughout the current tour, “They have been selling like hotcakes,” Kremer confirmed.

The band has been creating a stir of positive press within many publications, although the album has yet to hit stores. In a segment in the September issue of “GQ” headlined “Mix Tape: In which we get all romantically retro and make you a cassette of the month’s best new music,” Stellarstar* appears as the magazine’s seventh track with the ethereal “My Coco.” A miffed Kremer was unaware of the band’s inclusion in the “GQ” issue, “Oh, damn, I didn’t even notice, I’m going to have to check that out.”

Stellastarr* has also been the subject on an the emerging MTV show “You Hear it First,” a program that chronicles up-and-coming bands that are on the verge of making it big. The band is currently in production of a music video for “In the Walls,” the first track on “Stellastarr*.”

“In the Walls,” begins with a slow guitar strum, then takes off with Christensen’s vocals changing from an almost whisper to a baritone: “It took a while for me know / I am not alone.” Tannen’s soft and soothing background vocals add a dimension to this song, and the overall Stellastarr* sound that gives them an element that not many bands share. Chicago’s own Zwan benefited from the background vocals of Paz Lenchantin, who also played bass for the band, and helped take some of the pitch out of the unique singing voice of ex-Smashing Pumpkins vocalist Billy Corgan.

Metro is at 3730 N. Clark St. Tickets for this 18+ show are listed for $10 each with the show start time slated for 9 p.m. For more info on Stellastarr* visit www.stellastarr.com.
Stellastarr* Photo: Jasper Coolidge