Thursday, October 04, 2007

Josh Rouse & Jason Collett - WorkPlay Theatre, Birmingham, AL

Last night, Workplay Theatre in Birmingham hosted Josh Rouse, with Jason Collett opening. If you have never seen at show at Workplay before, I highly recommend it. Like many other Tragic City venues (Bottletree, Zydeco, the Nick), it provides for a very (and in some cases, almost too) intimate viewing atmosphere, with its great sight lines and multiple booths/tables. We were able to sneak a table right next to the stage about 15 minutes into Collett’s act, as you can see from the pictures.

For anyone who is a fan of Broken Social Scene, seeing Toronto-based Jason Collett is a definite treat. He played the show solo acoustic and truly flexed his singer/songwriter muscle, as well as his dry, Canadian humor. Like so-many BSS albums (and their off-shoots), his lyrics are both contemplative and entertaining, and many times laced with just enough swear words to make you feel a little singe, but which quickly induces a smile or laughter. His performance fit the venue well, as he was very candid with the audience between tunes: recounting the inspiration behind a song about a first date and his “fashion purchase” of a black-velour pullover (which was promptly set on fire in the car by the remnants of a “super toke”) and sarcastically asking whether the crowd had gone to “audience school” (a comment on the almost tense silence between songs). Often during the show his music reminded me of Mason Jennings, and at times Jim James of MMJ.

Josh Rouse came on stage with full band, and immediately encouraged everyone to get up and dance. This was my second time seeing Rouse at Workplay—the last was 2 years ago while he was touring for the Nashville album. He put on a much better show and was more animated than before. Rouse has some southern ties, living in Nashville for a time before moving to Spain, so I think he enjoyed being back in the deep south, so much so as to inquire as to the availability of the neighboring lofts. He played a wide variety of songs from all of his albums—a few toe-tappers, a few “touchy feely” love songs. My favorites were “His Majesty Rides” and his solo acoustic version of “Winter in the Hamptons”. An incomplete set list:

Hollywood Bass Player
God, Please Let Me Go Back
Givin’ It Up
Middle School Frown
Come Back
Charlie Brown theme
His Majesty Rides
Quiet Town
Isn’t She Lovely (Stevie Wonder instrumental)
It Looks Like Love

Winter in the Hamptons (Josh only acoustic)
Love Vibration
Sad Eyes

My friends and I got a chance to meet both Collett and Rouse after the show where they were selling merch at the door. Both seemed like pleasant folks enjoying their taste of southern hospitality. Look forward to seeing them again when they return.

Upcoming shows at Workplay of interest:

10/12 – Avett Brothers (Theatre)
10/12 – Drive-By Truckers (Soundstage)
10/23 – Mat Kearney
10/29 – Explosions in the Sky
10/31 – Josh Ritter
11/4 – Mute Math/Eisley

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

great show.... great synopsis of the evening. Loved it!!! 10