Ryan Star was launching his new album “Angels + Animals” (RStar) Tuesday night, but it was a song from his former band Stage that summed up the evening best.
“Nothing describes my life more,” he told the sold-out Bowery Ballroom, as he went into Stage’s “Sink or Swim.”
The Dix Hills native walked away from his record deal at Island Records last year in order to work on “Angels + Animals” in his own way, on his own timetable. As strong as the album turned out, he seemingly made the right decision.
His 80-minute set, focusing on the new material, made that argument even more strongly. Backed by his full band – keyboardist/singer Dallin Applebaum, guitarist Dan Tirer, bassist Artie Fleischmann and drummer Eli Logothetis – the new songs were even more effective than on the album.
The gorgeous “Spaceman” grew more powerful. “I Will Survive,” where the band was joined by producer IdoVsTheWorld and Genevieve, who opened the show, became more defiantly upbeat. “World I Used to Know” benefitted from Applebaum’s distinctive backing vocals and her harmonies that balance Star’s drama. And the stunning “Bullet” packed even more of a punch thanks to Tirer’s roaring guitar climax.
The single “Impossible,” performed with more of a groove than the new version on “Angels + Animals,” could easily fit on the radio, next to Imagine Dragons and OneRepublic. And that’s exactly where Star wants it to be, telling fans, “We’re just getting started.”
SETLIST: Spaceman / Back of Your Car / Brand New Day / The One You Know / World I Used to Know / Stay Awhile / Sailing On / I Will Survive / Bullet // ENCORE: --- Up / Impossible / Sink or Swim / Losing Your Memory