27 April 2010

Review: Jason Collett

Slacked and didn't get this in on time to make it onto The House List Monday, so posting here...

I arrived at the Mercury Lounge Friday night expecting to catch about
half the opening act, Zeus, before checking out Jason Collett, who, I
thought, would be backed by Zeus as well. Instead, I was immediately
immersed in the full-on show already in progress. Perhaps they
explained the rules before I got there, but I quickly caught on that
the show would not be following typical opener first/headliner last
convention. Rather, the night was more of a glorious mash-up of both
Collett and Zeus (and even unbilled Bahamas) – with people from each
band sitting in with each act opening for the other opening for the
other as they layered the show song by song in well-diagrammed
fashion. Throughout there was plenty of shuffling, with instruments
being passed around like recreational drugs, each player having a
different effect on the guitars, bass, lead vocal and keyboards. In
this way, the collective resembled their musical cousins and fellow
countrymen, Broken Social Scene, but, really, only in this way.

At the beginning, the music echoed those other Canadian rockers, The
Band and even Neil Young, as Collett/Zeus mixed acoustic and electric
guitars nicely. On their own, Zeus, at first, strongly evoked Dr. Dog
with bouncy songs, harmonized vocals and killer, pillow-fight bass
playing. Later they showed some nice compositional depth with a
raging near-prog “Cornerstones.” Midway through, Bahamas (aka Afie
Jurvanen), who had been popping in and out of numbers from the corner
of the stage, lead the ensemble with some BSS-like 4-guitar tunes
before falling back to “special guest” for the rest of the night.
From there, Collett hit his stride with some powerfully penned songs
from his new “Rat A Tat Tat,” including hot takes on “Lake Superior”
and “Love is a Dirty Word.” Appropriately, both acts got to take it
to the next level with killer covers in the encore; Zeus blowing the
room away with a great version of the mid-era Genesis hit “That’s All”
and then Collett leading everyone in a pace-changing groovy go at the
Bee Gees’ “Jive Talkin’.”

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