[jefito’s note: The following review was awesomely and enthusiastically guest-blogged by Klea Scharberg, courtesy of the good people at Wiredset. They continue to make stuff available to you guys, so stop by and say “hi” and “thanks” already.

This is something I’d like to make a recurring feature here, either via more comps (yeah, comps!) or by purchasing tickets with money donated by awesome super subscribing readers (more on that later). In theory, each and every one of you could review a show for the blog if you wanted to:it’s an idea that makes my extremities all tingly. Let me know what you think. And give Klea a hand! — j]

I’ve been a fan of Editors since I started hearing the buzz from across the pond about their first singles, ‘Bullets’ (January 2005) and ‘Munich’ (April 2005). They bring an energy and sound reminiscent of Joy Division, Echo and the Bunnymen, and early R.E.M. I first became aware of Stellastarr* with the release of ‘Love and Longing’ — an infusion of synthesizer-driven rock that makes me think of 80s bands like the Cure and John Hughes movies. Both bands became a fixture in my music rotation.

But, as great as some songs are, you never know quite what a live show will be like.

The Editors kicked off the main acts of the evening with ‘Lights’ — already a favorite — and it set the tone for the evening: LOUD and full of ENERGY. This is the way you must see this band! Rail-thin singer and guitarist Tom Smith was extremely touched when a fan called out for a relatively unknown B-side, saying how incredible it was that they traveled so far to feel so much at home.

Drummer Ed Lay built the foundation with bassist Russell Leetch, with guitarist Chris Urbanowidz coming in to overlay spiky and memorable chords. Smith kept the energy high, even when his monitor cut out. ‘All Sparks’ and ‘Camera’ did not disappoint and crowd-favorite, ‘Munich’ had everyone moving and shouting along.

Set list:

Lights
Blood
All Sparks
Fall
Bullets
Camera
You Are Fading
Munich
Weight
Bones
Open Your Arms
Fingers in the Factories

(Editors just released Back Room.)

In addition to the die-hard Editors fans in the crowd, there were a large number of Stellastarr* loyalists trading stories of past show experiences and CD purchases. Lead singer Shawn Christensen brought incredible emotion to the set, many times going to his knees under the power of the lyrics. A blend of new wave, punk, and romantic pop, Stellastarr* forms a wall of sound that envelopes the listeners and forces them to feel the joy, sadness, and growling frustration behind the song.

Reminding me of Robert Smith and a young Michael Stipe with a harder edge, Michael Jurin entertained all and bassist Amanda Tannen is every indie-boy’s dream. What can I say about drummer Arthur Kremer? He had my attention from the moment he set up his drum kit and synth laptop and captured the attention of everyone else when in the second song he took off his shirt to reveal the Stellastarr asterisk taped to his right nipple.

Set list:

Lost In Time
No Weather
A Million Reasons
Sweet Troubled Soul
The Diver
In The Walls
Island Lost At Sea
Love and Longing
On My Own
Moongirl
Jenny
Born In A Fleamarket
My Coco
Pulp Song

(Stellastarr*’s most recent CD, Harmonies for the Haunted.)

TOUR DATES
4.01.06 – Philadelphia, PA (Trocadero)
4.02.06 – Baltimore, MD (Sonar)
4.04.06 – Norfolk, VA (The Norva Theatre)
4.05.06 – Carrboro, NC (Cat’s Cradle)
4.06.06 – Athens, GA (40 Watt Club)
4.07.06 – Orlando, FL (The Social)
4.08.06 – Miami, FL (Studio A)
4.09.06 – St. Petersburg, FL (State Theater)
4.11.06 – Nashville, TN (Exit/In)
4.12.06 – Columbus, OH (Newport Music Hall)
4.13.06 – Detroit, MI (Magic Stick)
4.14.06 – Covington, KY (The Mad Hatter)
4.15.06 – Columbia, MO (Blue Note)
4.16.06 – Chicago, IL (Metro)
4.18.06 – Minneapolis, MN (Fine Line Music Cafe)
4.19.06 – Lawrence, KS (Granada Theatre)
4.21.06 – Denver, CO (Bluebird Theatre)
4.22.06 – Salt Lake City, UT (TBD)
4.25.06 – Vancouver, BC (Richard’s On Richards)
4.27.06 – Seattle, WA (Chop Suey)
4.28.06 – Portland, OR (Dante’s)
4.29.06 – San Francisco, CA (Mezzanine)
4.30.06 – Indio, CA (Coachella)