Words by: Tyson Clarke

On February 7th 2018, Starset brought their Immersion: Part one Tour to Toronto’s Opera House. The tour is in support of the band’s sophomore album Vessels, released in early 2016 and has support from opening act, Grabbitz, and Year of the Locust. Even though there was a heavy snowfall earlier in the day and freezing cold temperatures, nothing was going to stop the hundreds of devoted fans waiting outside from witnessing Starset’s demonstration.

The Columbus based rock band, Starset kicked off their demonstration with the ferocious “Satellite”, and “Frequency” off their newest album Vessels. After that it was off to the races, flying through a 17 song setlist filled with hits from the band’s two full length albums. Singer, Dustin Bates, was taken back by the size of the crowd saying “when we booked this show we didn’t know what to expect, coming to Canada when we’re from the US. We haven’t had a lot of radio to back us up, but we are absolutely blown away so thank you so much to everyone for coming out”.

Midway through their set, the band did a stripped down acoustic set, playing the songs “Telepathic” and “Starlight”. Between the violin and cello work, to the acoustic guitar and piano, and Dustin’s hauntingly powerful yet vulnerable vocals, it was hard to not feel engaged. After the acoustic set, Starset hit the crowd with the fan favorite “Monster”.

By the end of the show, the band pretended to walk off the stage before Dustin got on the mic and said “this is normally the part where we’d walk off stage and you’d hopefully cheer for us to come back on. But we leave the stage a little too much already with this whole cinematic thing and we’re already a little awkward so let’s just play some more songs” before ripping into “Bringing It Down” and “My Demons” to close out the show.

Starset put on one of the most visually stunning stage shows. Everyone in the band, except for the vocalist, was dressed astronaut suits with helmets, which have flashing lights that are in unison with the stage lights. Their backdrop was a giant screen that sits in front of the drum kit, which projected videos in between songs. During the songs, the screen turned into a glass box which was wear the drummer, cellist and violinist were performing.

The band was not discouraged by the use of cell phones during the show like some artists are, instead they encourage it. Starset created an Augmented Reality app to give fans a unique way to feel more involved in their shows. They’ve embraced the fact that society is becoming more technological and used that to create something very special. Before their set there was a 90 second countdown, and audience members using the app during the countdown were treated to a special intro featuring a rocket blasting off. Throughout the show, when taking a picture or video of the stage there was a projection of the constellations, as well as the planetary system. The experience using the app was just an added bonus to an already stellar show.

Starset is a very special band, they haven’t been around for a long time but they are quietly taking over and reinventing the rock world. Their sound alone is very unique and hard to put under a genre, but their lyrical content and live shows make them a band to be reckoned with. To those who are not yet familiar with the band, check them out. If they are bringing one of their demonstrations anywhere close to you, it’s not a show you’d want to miss. Starset puts on a truly out of this world live experience.

Starset’s Setlist:

Gravity of You
Last to Fall
Die for You
Point of no Return
It Has Begun
Telepathic (acoustic)
Starlight (acoustic)
Down with the Fallen
Bringing it Down
My Demons

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