Friday, June 6, 2014

Kiva House Concerts Celebrates 15 Years With Special Show

Antje Duvekot and Chris O'Brien

Antje Duvekot, Flynn, Chris O’Brien and Will Dailey performed at a special outdoor show in Billerica, Massachusetts on May 31, 2014 to celebrate Kiva House Concerts’ fifteenth year. Each of the artists performed for approximately an hour.  Three of the four artists had performed at this concert series before. Will Dailey, making his Kiva House Concerts debut, kicked off the show around 4 p.m. This was my first time hearing him, and I really enjoyed his set. He’s an artist I’ll definitely be excited to see again.

This was also my first time seeing Chris O’Brien, though I’ve been enjoying his CDs for a while. It was such a treat to finally get to see him perform. I love his voice. And these lines from “Rosa” always stands out for me: “She is lightning/I am thunder, a moment behind.” So good. Antje Duvekot joined Chris for several songs, and then Chris returned the favor during Antje’s set, which closed out the evening.

Flynn doesn’t perform as much these days, and it was a great surprise to hear some new material from him. I particularly enjoyed “Whatever You Wanted.” Of course Flynn also did several old favorites, including “White,” which concluded his set. During “American Wake,” his daughter sneaked up behind him, leading him to joke, “Where’s the bouncer?” I hope Flynn will start performing more often again. He always does a good show, and his guitar work never fails to impress me.

The weather was great (though the temperature did drop a bit by the time Antje performed, and a lot of us had gone back to our cars for jackets by then). Antje did a few covers, including “The Times They Are A-Changing,” which opened her set. She did another Bob Dylan tune a bit later, “Tomorrow Is A Long Time.” Chris O’Brien joined her on guitar and backing vocals on that one, as well as on a sweet rendition of “If I Needed You,” a Townes Van Zandt song that I’ve always loved. Chris O’Brien also helped out by holding up Antje’s phone with the lyrics to a new song, “Half Life.” It’s a wonderful tune, though Antje ended it abruptly, telling the crowd that the song isn’t quite done, that there will be more. She followed that with my favorite, “Pearls.”

The whole show was seriously good, with a nice, loose vibe. House concerts always seem to have a more relaxed, intimate and friendly atmosphere. Artists seem to generally do them for fun. There’s little in the way of networking or business, though of course the performers have CDs available for sale. At this show, folks brought their own camping chairs and food (which they then shared). If all of your live music experience has been at clubs and stadiums, you should do yourself a favor and look into attending a few house concerts.

Other artists who have performed at Kiva House Concerts over the years include Ellis Paul, Jim Infantino, Chris Trapper, Kay Hanley, Peter Mulvey and Adam Ezra.

Here are a few photos from the show on May 31st:
Will Dailey
Will Dailey
Chris O'Brien (joined by Antje Duvekot)
Chris O'Brien
Antje Duvekot
Chris O'Brien lends a hand on "Half Life"

The Kiva House Concerts series is in Billerica, Massachusetts, just outside of Boston.

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