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"Live Show Review: Basin, My Pet Monster, Brett Armstrong"

Thursday night, the Jazzhaus played host to a trio of great local acts. Your musically inclined blogger made it out to the show in full effect. I even brought a notebook with me this time!

First up was the solo act of Jake Davis, a.k.a Basin. Basin’s sound is characterized by clean riffs, folksy chord progressions, and a soulful voice that he throws around like a major league pitcher.

Basin started his set off strong and kept the momentum going. Unlike many solo artists, Basin’s set doesn’t lag in the middle. This energizer bunny has a powerhouse middle set. There are no lulls to be found as he launches from upbeat tunes to mournful ballads with nary a pause. One standout song from his act was the gorgeous “Fast Asleep” It featured a fingerpicked intro, great dissonance resolving in all the right places, and flawless falsetto vocals.

Basin is as talented a writer as he is a singer. Lyrics to remember: “The sky is on fire, and I’m flying into the flames.” This is poetic exposition to the max. “My heart beats so hard, it begins to break; that was my mistake.” Words anybody who has felt the first rush of love can identify with.

His performance will surprise you with sparkling guitar and a wide range of singing style. A Christmas morning kind of surprise.

Next up was Lawrence singer Brett Armstrong. This talented musician captured the audience with his slightly raspy yet pure vocals and his technical expertise on the guitar. Brett’s knowledge of music theory shows; his songs feature tempo changes and riffling chords as executed by a master. He brings the term “rhythm guitar” to a new level with the beats he coaxes out of his instrument.

Brett has a long history at the Jazzhaus. He has been play at their open mic night for around 2 years, and the friends and regulars he has met over the years were out in full force for this show.

He is currently promoting his CD, entitled “Selling Something or Myself”. He played several songs from the album, but the audience was treated to several new songs that he has been working on. My personal favorite of the night was the song “Love Classified”: “I don’t know any government secrets, I don’t know any Russian words; I don’t know any secret secrets, this love is classified.”

Brett’s live show is great as he has a way with the audience like no other. He draws you into the show until you ar ready to laugh, cry, sing along, or even do all 3 at once. If you didn’t see him at this show, I only have one question for you– Why the fuck not?!

Last but not least was My Pet Monster. This trio grabbed the crowd’s attention with their energy and spunk on stage. (Did I really just say “spunk”? I must be running out of good adjectives tonight. Sorry, kids.) At any rate, My Pet Monster has so much fun during their set, you can’t help but have fun as well. Persistent drums, rolling guitars, and walking bass lines boister lead singer Seth’s vocals.

Interplay between guitar and bass is central to My Pet Monster’s brand of indie punk rock. You can hear the harmonies between these instruments in every song. On the whole it was very reminiscent of other local punk rock greats like the defunct “Salt the Earth”. The song “Standing Here Feels Stupid” brings this point home with its rolling melodic lines.

With the band members living almost 100 miles apart, it is hard for My Pet Monster to get much practice time in. This wasn’t evident in their set to me, but maybe they are just good at faking it. Regardless, My Pet Monster is a band with its eye on the prize. Keep an eye out for them.



'Better Off' demo single, recieved regular area airplay for over six months.
"Snowed Out!:Live at the Gaslight" is being mastered now and is slated for late Spring release



Basin is music concerned with meaning. The lyrics are written to be understood and appreciated by everyone upon first listen, but the full depth is only evident after careful contemplation.

After years of writing for himself, songwriter Jake Davis took to the stage in 2004, convinced by friends that his music needed to be shared with the world.

Basin means the low place, the part of a person’s spirit where feelings are hidden. The songs channeled from this place flow out of him with deep, uncluttered lyrics and melodies born out of his soul. Basin’s music is so pure that anything besides an acoustic guitar would take away from the feeling.

Basin has an extremely large local following, built through playing the top venues in the area. It has been featured live on well-established radio stations, broadcasted to an audience of thousands.