Jason Collett’s Basement Revue at Luminato: Part Concert, Part Therapy

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.

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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.

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