Part of the Luminato Festival, Jason Collett’s Basement Revue, which is not in a basement, took place at David Pecaut Square in something called The Shack. This concert is actually a concert and performance series that occurs every night of the festival. Past performers include Canadian titans like Margaret Atwood and Daniel Lanois.
Located at the Festival Hub at 55 King Street West, this aptly named venue is a simple construction of wood with the stage at one end and a small bar at the other. The first act when I attended was Snowblink. It first dawned on me that, in true Luminato fashion, this was not just a performance. Before Snowblink began an emcee led the audience through a vow of silence about what was about to happen and then brought a member of the audience onstage. The emcee proceeded to lead the audience member through an abbreviated therapy session that ended with an abstract prescription for a song. The result was a cover of ‘Take My Breath Away’ by Berlin (the love song from Top Gun). With Feist-like vocals it was a beautifully sung bluesy-indie cover.
The next band was Zeus, an 80s-influenced indie band with heavy hints of Springsteen, especially in wardrobe; this is music that deserves a jean jacket. They were loud and they were good and given the chance I would see them again. Besides the quality of their songs what I liked about this band was the constant exchanging of instruments by its members. Going from keyboards to guitars to bass and with almost everyone always on vocals there is a versatility to this band that belies its talent.
After witnessing the Basement Revue I can tell you why it’s hosted in such a spartan venue; it’s because no one is going to care where they are so long as bands of quality continue to play. I will definitely be attending next year.