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Arts and Entertainment

Jason Collett @ the Troubadour, 3/17/08

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It's hard to compete with St. Patrick's Day, something Jason Collett can testify to as he played to a thin crowd numbering in the few dozen at the Troubadour. It seemed the allure of corned beef and Guinness was just too much.

What the revelers missed was a charming, laid-back set from Collett, a sometime member of the Canadian collective, Broken Social Scene. Collett's sound is a throwback to the old California rock sound by way of Toronto, a little bit country, a little bit rock and enough swing to get your toes tapping. With its shuffling disco beat, "Out of Time," a highlight from his current album, Here's To Being Here, showed off Collett's playful side, and slow burners like "Henry's Song" allowed for some guitar wailing from Collett and the band.

Collett ran through a set evenly split between the new album and his previous one, Idols of Exile, and held everyone's attention with a disarming, good-natured vibe. If anything, the small audience may have made him more relaxed than anxious. Midway through the set he played a couple of songs acoustically sans band and related a long story about the inspiration for "Almost Summer" that included a cultural observation about the Canadian "super-toke" versus the American "shotgun" It wasn't one of those long-winded, self-absorbed stories musicians love to tell but more like an anecdote one would hear from a friend. Like his music it had a wistful, empathetic quality to it. When he finally launched into "Almost Summer," the song had an added depth, an extra dose of sentiment, that made for an even more rewarding, intimate experience. It's that special experience when musician and audience connect

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Yes, Collett's music grooves along at an ambler's pace but it has a texture and complexity that makes it worth absorbing. It's not merely aesthetically pleasing, it is thoughtful and rich and often distinctive. Collett will be back in town later this year hopefully playing to a bigger crowd.

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Photos by me via the LAist Featured Photos Pool