Performing at Johnny D's, Somerville, MA - June 29, 2005
Photo taken by Shannon Duffy
Antje Duvekot brought two guitars, a banjo, and a folk rock sensibility to entertain local admirers at Johnny D’s in Somerville last Tuesday night. Like classic folk singers before her, Duvekot has mined the veins of her own experience to forge songs of surrender, survival, and sentiment. She has an engaging rock paper scissors stage style, with self deprecating comments, total sincerity, and truth stranger than fiction anecdotes competing for time between songs. Young and relatively inexperienced, she is the rare entertainer who can make her stage jitters an endearing part of the show, especially when coupled with her whacky sense of humor. Her stage patter is unforced. If you didn’t look around at the packed house, you might swear she was sitting across a table from you, sharing coffee and swapping stories after a cross-country trip from her digs in Brooklyn, a continent removed from her birthplace in Germany.
Duvekot’s songs are propelled by her sweet voice and soulful lyrics. Although she strays into hackneyed phrases from time to time, she’s penned many lines of compelling images. Her 90-minute set was too long for one sitting, even with a roomful of her fans, and the tempo and tenor of her songs too similar. Juicing up a set with more uptempo tunes is in order. Her one attempt at variety was a song she described as reggae, but no one in the house would ever confuse her with Jimmy Cliff. Her evening’s accompanist, Noam Weinstein, is a master of technique on the electric guitar but his duet singing, although earnest, was uncertain and not always in pitch with Duvekot’s.
Antje Duvekot has a way to go with learning how to play her acoustic and electric guitars but her attempts to learn by stretching it out in front of a live audience show the gumption of a performer learning in the spotlights. What she’s developing now is a repertoire and a style and she’s clearly on her way. To quote one of her lyrics, she’s a tea light on the way to becoming a forest fire.