Friday, June 22, 2018

Ellis Paul, Antje Duvekot and Sam Baker at Club Passim, 6-16-18 Late Show Concert Review

Ellis Paul, Antje Duvekot, Sam Baker performing "Deportee"
On June 16th, Ellis Paul, Antje Duvekot and Sam Baker performed two concerts at Club Passim in Cambridge. It was a fantastic evening of music. My brother and I had concerns that the two shows might be similar as far as song choices, but only three songs were repeated (and all three of those were ones I wanted to hear a second time). The second show was perhaps even better than the first, and certainly had a more playful vibe. While the three musicians had joked briefly about coming up with a band name in the early show, they took that joke and ran with it in the late show, with those in the audience adding some of their own thoughts on the matter.

The show started a little after 8 p.m., and as in the early show there was a bit of discussion as to who would kick off the set. Sam Baker told the audience, “This is all scripted.” This time, Ellis Paul was chosen to begin the show, and he got things going with “The Storyteller’s Suitcase,” the song that will be the title track on his upcoming release. Antje Duvekot followed that with “Long Way,” on which she played both acoustic guitar and harmonica. There was a briefly frightening but ultimately funny moment in which she almost fell off her stool after singing “And I have never seen.” The song was halted for a bit, and then Antje had trouble remembering just where in the song she was. In this version, after the line “I called you from a payphone,” she added “back when payphones still existed.” Ellis and Sam provided backing vocals. Then Sam told the audience that one of their possible band names was Sorry, Everybody. Other possibilities included The Slippery Pants, The Sisterhood Of The Slippery Pants and We’re So Lucky. Also, Mariana Trench. But Sorry, Everybody was the one they’d return to several times. Sam played “Same Kind Of Blue,” with Ellis and Antje adding some backing vocals. That song contains the line, “Way down in a tunnel where the fallen angels dwell,” and Ellis followed it with “When Angels Fall,” an excellent new song. This was the first of the three that were also played at the early show (and one I was excited to hear a second time). When introducing it, Ellis said: “This is a sing-along about the gun problem. I’m not kidding. I want you all to sing.” And folks did.

Antje then began what would be a round of covers with Ani Difranco’s “Not A Pretty Girl,” first mentioning that it’s a song she’s been playing ever since the orange one was elected. For those who might be unfamiliar with this song, here are some of the lyrics: “I am not an angry girl/But it seems like I've got everyone fooled/Every time I say something they find hard to hear/They chalk it up to my anger/And never to their own fear.” Yeah, those lines really strike a chord these days, don’t they? Sam followed that with a cover of Paul Simon’s “Duncan,” and Ellis ended the round of covers with Joni Mitchell’s “The Circle Game,” the audience singing along on the chorus.

Someone shouted out a request for “Dandelion,” and Antje kindly obliged. Sam followed that with a wonderful rendition of “Waves,” on which he played harmonica. Sam also played harmonica on “Straight To The Moon,” another of Ellis Paul’s new songs. This is one I requested between shows, as it just makes me so damn happy. Antje followed it with a cover of “Ring Them Bells.” Then Sam played “Snow,” an absolutely beautiful song about Boston. “This city is so pretty when the snow falls just at dawn.” This was for me one of the highlights of the show, and was followed by another highlight, “Last Call,” a song I hadn’t seen Ellis perform in quite some time. Antje joined him on vocals, and Sam played harmonica.

Laurie MacAllister, of the band Red Molly, joined Antje Duvekot on vocals for a really good version of “Sex Bandaid.” Sam followed that with “Go In Peace,” the second of the three songs played at both shows. They then joked about a future Strawberry Puffin reunion tour. (Yes, Strawberry Puffin was another of the possible band names. Or was it Strawberry Puffins?) As at the early show, the three musicians concluded the concert with Woody Guthrie’s “Deportee (Plane Wreck At Los Gatos),” each singing lead on different verses. A microphone stand problem partway through the song led to a sweet moment. The show ended at 9:58 p.m. There was no encore. By the way, another running joke through this concert was the song “Sisters” from the movie White Christmas, and right after the show ended, Matt Smith played it on the venue’s sound system. A perfect way to send a delighted and united audience out into the night.

Set List
  1. The Storyteller’s Suitcase
  2. Long Way
  3. Same Kind Of Blue
  4. When Angels Fall
  5. Not A Pretty Girl
  6. Duncan
  7. The Circle Game
  8. Dandelion
  9. Waves
  10. Straight To The Moon
  11. Ring Them Bells
  12. Snow
  13. Last Call
  14. Sex Bandaid
  15. Go In Peace
  16. Deportee (Plane Wreck At Los Gatos)
Here are a few photos from the show:

"The Storyteller's Suitcase"
"Long Way"
"Same Kind Of Blue"
"Last Call"
"Sex Bandaid"
"Deportee (Plane Wreck At Los Gatos)"

Club Passim is located at 47 Palmer St. in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

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