I don't often do concert reviews, but I recently saw a show that I felt needed to be immortalized via the pages of the internet.
On April 5th some friends and I ventured into Halifax to see Mike Trask and the Precious Memories perform. They were doing their special three day album release tour for 'Album'. Album is a concept album if I have ever heard of one. Mike informed the audience that he and artist Benjamin Allain had decided to collaborate on a project back in December when Trask wanted Allain to paint for his website. Their collaboration started when they purchased a photo album from a thrift store for $1.25. Allain then created a collage from the photo album, and Trask then created a song inspired by the collage. Allain then painted a painting inspired by Trask's song, and Trask created another song. They continued this back and forth until there were 5 pieces of art and 5 songs. The finished product, aptly called Album was released at the Company House in Halifax on April 5th, Wilsers Room in Fredericton on April 6th and Plan B in Moncton April 7th.
I could go on about the premise of the project and Allain's fantastic contributions (including a live painting session), but I'd like to instead focus on the musical component of the evening. Mike Trask was joined by the Precious Memories, which included Becky Siamon, Owen Steel, David R. Elliott, and Adam Mowery, all of whom contributed to Album (with the exception of Owen). Trask and the members of the Precious Memories took turns singing the five tunes on Album, and closed the night with two cover tunes, Honky Tonk Blues by Hank Williams and Money (Thats What I Want) by Barrett Strong (made famous by The Beatles). I've seen Trask perform a handful of times, but never have I seen him perform like he did on Friday night. At the end of his set Trask explained that Allain had been a significant inspiration to him because Allain created art for the sake of creating art, not to please anyone else but himself, because "he really didn't give a fuck" about what anyone else thought of his work. Trask continued to say that for the first time since he singing out of tune accompanied by a couple of chords at the age of 13, he decided to do the same. For this, I applaud Allain. Seeing Trask come into his own on stage was a sublime experience.
The freedom in Trask's work on Album hits you even more so when he is on stage. Trask and the Precious Memories were incredibly tight, yet incredibly loose and fluid. Trask's stage presence was riveting and contagious. Between his banter and his groovin' you could tell he was in his element and presenting the audience with a project that he was truly proud of. The confidence that was exuded on that stage, all the while admitting to feeling very uncomfortable, was awesome. Not to mention all the talent that was backing him. The five piece created a show that was positively one of a kind. They all showed great passion towards 'Album' and all it has to offer.
I would highly recommend checking out the album, and making sure to see Mike Trask and the Precious Memories if the opportunity ever presents itself to you. Trask said the group had plans to tour in the summer, so stay tuned to his facebook page for more details here.
You can listen to and purchase 'Album' here.