“I didn’t get anyone to introduce me,” Jason Collett said after he quietly walked onstage. “So you can all watch me tune my guitar for a
Collett wasn’t kidding when he said he wanted his new tour, titled the Undressed Tour, to be personal. He played Aeolian Hall Saturday night in a small room consisting of about ten tables, a few chairs towards the back, and a stage.
Al Tuck, a folk-blues solo artist, opened the show with deep, husky vocals and acoustic guitar. He sat on a stool in the middle of a bare stage, except for an open guitar case on his right and a second stool that held a glass of whiskey and a bottle of beer.
Notable songs included “Nothin’ but your Mother,” a drawling ode, and “My Blues Away” where he made trumpet sounds with his own vocals. Setting up a calm atmosphere for Collett, Tuck even took out a harmonica towards the end of his set.
Tuck conversed with the audience and asked for comments or suggestions. He even asked the members of the audience to buy him a drink before joining the crowd himself to watch Collett.
Collett preferred to stand, pushing aside the stool and using it to hold his bottle of water. Despite hailing from a band made up of many people, Collett effortlessly took command of the stage on his own.
The purpose of the Undressed Tour, he explained, was to strip down many of his songs and reinvent them in a simpler way. It was clear even after his opening song “Fire” that this was an effective idea. Collett’s strong vocals and indie-folk sound worked well in such a small setting.
Often talking to the audience in between songs, Collett told amusing anecdotes about his life.
“We got caught in the Santa Claus Parade,” he explained when talking about getting to the venue. “It was a little awkward carrying equipment and guitars through the crowd, bumping into children.”
The set list was a mix of both old and new songs, with classics such as “Bitter Beauty” and a much slower version of “Not Over You,” which created a haunting silence throughout the room.
Newer songs included the upbeat “Little Tiger,” which he explained was written for the children, and the heartfelt ballad “Pulling The Sun Down,” a song written about post-traumatic stress disorder.
The show had an unforgettable community atmosphere and was a breath of fresh air in comparison to the number of larger shows that many bands play at the John Labatt Centre.
Collett is now travelling West, finishing up his tour at the end of this month. His new album, Pony Tricks, reflects the stripped down atmosphere of his tour. If you happen to be out west, check him out — you’ll feel lucky to have been part of the Undressed experience.