Collett plays intimate Starlight show

Starlight Lounge underwent a transformation on Nov. 2 when it hosted Jason Collett in concert. Starlight concert and discotheque goers have become accustom to the venues’ small but open space. However, on Wednesday night, to accompany the soothing vocals of Collett, the club was transformed with couches, chairs and candles on tables, all contributing to an ambient atmosphere. It was a night for intimacy.

Chris Velan, a Montreal-based singer/songwriter opened the show and set the tone for the night. Each song had its own special narrative that Velan shared with the crowd. Whether it was an intimate love song such as “There Goes Sarah,” “Sweet Mary,” or “Same Clothes,” a song inspired by his irritation at his own dirty clothes. His consistent storytelling helped break the barrier between himself on stage and the members of the audience.

When it came time for Collett to grace the stage, the audience was comfortably at ease at their small, candle-lit tables. With no extra instruments to set up and on his own time, Collett quietly walked up to the microphone with his guitar in-hand and opened the set with “Hangover Days.”

Speaking to The Cord prior to the show, Collett shared his thoughts on touring solo rather than with a band. “Part of the reason I’ve been doing that in the last year is so I can go away for shorter periods of time. You can do that with out a band. I can go away to Europe for a couple of weeks and come home,” said Collett.

Having performed at Starlight numerous times before, Collett commented on the venues appearances following a preview of his new song, “Five minutes of TV.” Jokingly, Collett asked audience members if anyone noticed the new ashpalt in the back alley, suggesting that Starlight’s revamped appearance was starting to look more like West-end Toronto. “It’s time for Starlight to begin its gentrification,” said the songwriter playfully.

“I love that place [Starlight]. I’m really fond of the fellows that runs it; they have been doing a good thing for a long time,” Collett said.

Sticking to the format of a solo-acoustic set, Collett added a twist to this show. By playing new songs drawn from his yet untitled upcoming album, set to be released next spring.

Giving fans something to look forward to, Collett played a short and sweet preview of “Pacific Blue,” a song about infidelity.

Having to stop a couple of times to remember lyrics in songs such as “Roll On Oblivion” and “My Daddy Was A Rock n’ Roller,” Collett was able to laugh with audience members and share personal stories about everyday dealings like horrible traffic.

Maintaining the feeling of quiet intimacy throughout his set, while breaking rules about being “professional” on stage, Collett told nostalgic stories which gave substance to songs like “High Summer,” a song about balance (when making love in a canoe).

“There’s an intimacy that you can achieve when playing solo that I’ve noticed that you can’t really get to when playing with a band. Part of it comes through just being vulnerable. It’s almost like you’re naked on stage with a guitar. That’s why there’s a little more storytelling and the songs being stripped down and such, people can see a different side of the songs in a way they have never heard before.”

At his show at Starlight Lounge, Collett’s theories proved correct. First-timers and old fans alike experienced his strong stage presence and intimate feel. Together we laughed, marvelled, engaged and quietly listened to the dissections of each song; spilling out a couple of personal details here and there.

All that was missing was a warm campfire to truly complete the mood.

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