Band hopes to put on stellar show

Andrew Gaug

Stellastarr* met while attending college in Brooklyn, N.Y. The group is similar to The Bravery and The Killers.

Credit: Carl Schierhorn

Sometimes the origins of a band happen in the strangest of places.

Take stellastarr*. Originally the three founding members – lead singer Shawn Christensen, bassist Amanda Tannen and drummer/keyboardist Arthur Kremer – formed the band Ghistor while attending the Pratt Institute of the Arts in Brooklyn, N.Y. Tannen said they jammed together but decided to split up after graduation.

Tannen said stellastarr* began when Christensen ran into guitarist Michael Jurin while he was getting his mail. Christensen asked Jurin if he’d like to practice with the newly reformed band, and, after one jam session, stellastarr* was born.

Since they began performing, the band won rave reviews, which led to a record deal after performing at the SXSW festival. The group also had the chance to play with bands such as Jane’s Addiction, The Killers and The Red Hot Chili Peppers. It has released two albums, most recently 2005’s Harmonies for the Haunted, which it is promoting with the current tour.

Even with the success that they have attained, Tannen said they still prefer to play for crowds in a more intimate setting.

The band is pleased with its fan base because “there’s a lot of fans that are with us for the long haul.”

Intimate audiences give the feeling that “you’re playing along with the fans.” But Tannen said the times they’ve played for packed venues with thousands of their fans, “It blows us over.”

Stellastarr* has the attributes of many current indie-rock bands such as a baritone lead singer, synthesizers and, as Tannen said, “sincere, emotional songs.” Because of this, the band has gained comparisons to current ’80s-inspired bands such as The Bravery, The Killers and Interpol. Tannen said the comparisons do not bother them.

“If a Bravery fan reads an article that suggests a lists of bands and they discover us that way,” said Tannen, “that’s cool.”


Where? Agora Ballroom

When? Saturday, 8 p.m.

How much? $15

Currently, stellastarr* has embarked on a co-headlining tour with Editors after spending the last few months touring behind Harmonies overseas. Tannen said their latest tour has been enjoyable because “everyone knows our music a lot more” as opposed to their beginning treks where “with (tours behind) the first album we were introducing our music.”

Stellastarr*’s tour will make a stop at the Agora.

Fans who are familiar with stellastarr*’s music should expect something new. “Even if you know the album, it will bring a new aspect to it,” said Tannen.

The tour will wrap in April at the Coachella Festival in Indio, Cali.

Tannen said the band loves to play there because it’s a good mix of people who know their music and those who are hearing it for the first time.

Contact ALL correspondent Andrew Gaug at [email protected].