CMW Review: Zeus, Jason Collett and Bahamas

Jason Collett takes to the front of the stage for "High Summer." Everyone else is up there too.

Sometimes it was just Jason Collett on stage. Sometimes just Bahamas. Sometimes Zeus. And sometimes all six shuffling on Lee’s Palace’s stage to a sold-out crowd on Wednesday night for the Bonfire Ball revue. Clearly one of the most hyped opening shows for Canadian Music Week (CMW), if not for the entire festival — the boys of Zeus were planted on the cover of every Toronto weekly — the line-up to get in was intense. I would like to thank the black lanyard known as a media pass for the help in this area.

Having all played before — Zeus used to be and still is the backup band for Collett and Bahamas is a singer-songer writer friend — the three artists played separately and collectively at points. Notably, for a lot of the ditties, the various musicians would trade positions. Bassist would take the keys, keys would take vocals, vocals would take backup acoustic. Collett, with his Owen Pallett-cum-Jack Kerouac style and air, started off with a solo. Then everything came together with various beats from all artists — often switching from indie rock to solo I’m-a-county-boy ballads from Bahamas. (But as Bahamas proved on his debut album, Pink Strat, he can play a mean guitar.) Zeus, it should be noted, can all sing. Each took to their own songs, from their hits “Marching Through Your Head” and “How Does it Feel.” In all, it was like a mini-Broken Social Scene. As Collett is a BSS alumnus, it’s an obvious parallel with numerous, talented bodies playing different instruments and playing each other’s songs collectively. It worked, but it wasn’t explosive or hard-hitting. It was a solid start to CMW, but those blasted lines never are.

What was explosive, mind you, was bouncing a little early to the El Mocambo for Fucked Up’s show. That was explosive, as per usual for the Polaris Prize-winning experimental hardcore band from Toronto. Frontman Damian, surprise surprise, wasn’t wearing a shirt and got a little nuts. Good on him. More to come on that side of the pond below.


Tonight, TRAVIS will be covering the Woodhands and k-os show at Opera House and the Coalesce show at the Annex Wreckroom.

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