Concerts Concerts A Night of Stories with Jason Collett

A Night of Stories with Jason Collett

Jason Collett at the Church of the Redeemer
Jason Collett
Al Tuck
Church of the Redeemer in Toronto, ON
November 11, 2010

Review by: Lucas Samuels
Photos by: Amanda Fotes

Jason Collett’s show at one of my favourite venues in Toronto, the Church of the Redeemer, was interesting to say the least; the night started off shaky and never fully recovered.

Jason Collett

After an unsteady set by opener Al Tuck, Jason Collett took the stage promptly at 9:30pm and played a set heavy on songs from his newer albums, Pony Tricks and Rat A Tat Tat. While the songs were all well played, the absence of a backing band resulted in many of the tunes coming off as quietly unvaried. This was largely due to the fact that each song followed the same slow tempo while lacking stylistic differences in playing. “Rave On Sad Songs”, “Bitter Beauty”, and “Bitch City” along with other new songs were well received, and the audience clapped loud and hard for those.

What did save Collett’s overall lackluster set were his stories, and there were a lot of them. Each followed the same humorous theme, the intersection between pot, women, and music in Collett’s life. First, he recalled his initial meeting with Karen O of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, smashing heads with her underwater after smoking a joint at a hotel pool. Next came the story of Collett’s first meeting with Sharon Jones of the Dap Kings in France. The two met and bonded over a good Canadian-style joint and discussed the downfalls of European-style tobacco-heavy joints. The last notable story Collett told harkened back to his days in Grade 10. He took a girl he had a huge crush on to a school dance and the two shared a joint before entering the school. The cherry had fallen into his polyester shirt and needless to say, upon walking past his principal, the shirt erupted in flames. The two were promptly kicked out of the dance where they proceeded to smoke another and fool around. It sounded like quite the school trip, and one many of us could probably relate to.

Collett did end his set strongly with “High Summer” and the classic “I’ll Bring The Sun”. On the whole, the show was just okay. I really do like Jason Collett’s music, and his albums are worth the listening time, but I think his songs are much better suited to having a backing band, such as when he plays with Zeus, or when sung with Broken Social Scene, rather than played solo acoustically.

Jason Collett at the Church of the Redeemer   Jason Collett at the Church of the Redeemer   Jason Collett at the Church of the Redeemer   Jason Collett at the Church of the Redeemer  

Al Tuck

Given Collett’s musical status both in Toronto and internationally, I figured whoever was opening the show would be a good performer. Boy, was I wrong. I won’t spend too much time discussing Al Tuck’s rough opening set, but I do feel it important to mention it briefly. I understand that playing solo in front of a crowd is extremely difficult and possibly even scary. That being said, Tuck’s guitar playing was overly sloppy and he constantly forgot lyrics during his hour-long set. His humor and stage presence were also awkward, and those in the pews around me looked extremely uncomfortable. Hopefully Tuck will take some time off to perfect his craft before his next performance.

Al Tuck at the Church of the Redeemer   Al Tuck at the Church of the Redeemer   Al Tuck at the Church of the Redeemer