Veteran’s Day: Locals Starmy assert their legacy with Starmageddon. 

On Dec. 5, Salt Lake City’s Starmy played a show that was, to say the least, a long time coming—not to mention cathartic. For many, it’s been way too long since the local rockers released a proper album—2004’s Black Shine—but, as bassist John Lyman notes, “For a band that’s been around for seven years, it’s nice to know we still have that spark and energy together when we play live.” n

Starmy needed that spark to weather four of those years, clearing stumbling blocks and significant lineup changes trying to produce the ambitiously titled LP, Starmageddon. “With a record name that pompous,” says Lyman, “We had to step up and meet the challenge. We’ve recorded and rerecorded the album a number of times in the last few years and we wanted something that was epic without being over produced.”

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“It was important for us for the album to not be lo-fi,” adds lead singer and guitarist Mike Sartain. “The songs are simple in a lot of ways still, but we wanted to make sure to add studio sprinkles that would make the record something special.”

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Judging by the size and enthusiasm of the crowd, the show celebrating Starmageddon’s release was indeed just that: special.

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Gene Sartain (father to both Mike and Will Sartain) opened the night, followed by Rope or Bullets who, with dancers in tow, played a strong set of songs culled from their new album The Turns. Will Sartain followed the electro-rockers in support of Automatic Body, an LP he recorded several years prior but just recently decided to unleash. All three ensembles were well worth the meager cover charge, but the large and rowdy crowd was clearly gathered for Starmy’s signature rock anthem stylings.

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Don’t get me wrong, the dynamics of Starmy do not simply begin and end with the rock anthem. Starmaggedon, their third full-length recording, features a number of songs approaching the five-minute mark, and it slows down for a nary a minute. Even during the likes of the rock ballad-esque “September” or the plaintive “Promise Proud,” the energy is high and emotive. And after the odd 30-second mash-up of “Altogethernow” the album wraps on a thumping macabre waltz of “Static of the Dead.”

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“We wanted to make sure and keep our tight song structure,” says Lyman. “At the same time, we wanted to add some of the peaks and valleys that have made the band what it is today. We wanted to keep it simple but big and grand, adding little ingredients here and there that make the album what it is when it’s all cooked up.”

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While watching the sextet (normally a quintet consisting of Sartain, Lyman, Dave Combs, Joe Denhalter and Kevin Ivers, with local music staple David Payne helping out on keys for the night) work their adoring audience into a dance frenzy, it wasn’t hard to think, “Oh, what a great bar band”—a reaction that doesn’t do Starmy justice, especially with Starmageddon weighing heavy on the horizon.

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A live Starmageddon preview, circa 2007:
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