Radio headsRADIO MONDAY with JASON COLLETT, GLENN MILCHEM, KYP HARNESS, JIM BRYSON and RON HAWKINS at Ted's Wrecking Yard, April 9. Tickets: $8. Attendance: 60. Rating: NNN
toronto is a songwriter's town.
Not only is it capable of supporting an endless stream of showcase nights -- isn't Bluebird North in its, like, 1,500th season? -- but the available resources are staggering.
Andy Stochansky hosted a weekly residency at Ted's that played to standing-room-only crowds in bitterest January. Now, a few months later, Bird man Jason Collett has picked up the ball with his Radio Monday series, continuing at the College Street club through May.
Similar to Stochansky's sessions, Collett's show drew supportive fans and piles of fellow musicians -- Renann, Dave Matheson, Bazil Donovan. And though the night probably won't be remembered as a series highlight -- it's a guess, but a good one given who else is slated to perform -- it was a respectable start.
The set-up was familiar: one of the five guys on stage played a song before passing off to the next. Collett began, followed by Swallows/Blue Rodeo member Glenn Milchem, Kyp Harness, Ottawa's Jim Bryson and LOTL/Rusty Nails linchpin Ron Hawkins.
A promising lineup, yet the first set felt tentative and static. Interplay was negligible -- no spontaneous vocal harmonies plugging one player into another's song.
Of the lot, only Bryson and maybe Milchem firmly capitalized on the anecdotal humour that invariably enhances solo acoustic performances, with Bryson going that extra step to create a running gag. Hawkins didn't need extras -- his projection was far and away the strongest, while his songs always leave an impression. Collett and Harness, meanwhile, seemed ill-at-ease under the spotlight.
No matter. With gonzo forthcoming guests like Jose Contreras and Maury LaFoy (April 23) and Ian LaFeuvre and Luke Doucet (April 30), to name just four, Radio Monday's best days await.