Thursday, September 18, 2008

Peter Mulvey/Antje Duvekot; September 18, 2008; High Noon Saloon

Everyone complains about the price of gas these days, but it is rare to find anyone actually doing something about it. Perhaps the hardest hit, the touring musician is the last person I would have expected to take a stand. For the second year in a row Peter Mulvey has undertaken a No Gas tour, winding his way between his home in Milwaukee and several other bikeable cities in Wisconsin, logging as many as 70 miles in a day. He’s had a good deal of support in this effort, not only does he have a group of friends who have joined him on this tour and in the training leading up to it, but he also has the support of the Wheel & Sprocket bike shop in Milwaukee. In addition to giving him a recumbent bike to use, they also rigged it with a guitar carrying rack which replaced the trailer he pulled before. While that conversion lightened his load quite a bit, he still seemed eager to have us lighten it further… by purchasing several of his “extremely heavy” CDs.

Unfortunately for his cause, I’ve been a Peter fan for quite some time and I already have all of his CDs. Peter’s live charm is a combination of his quick wit, his clever songs and his impressive guitar playing. For many of his shows he is accompanied by David Goodrich, who he has worked with for years, on electric guitar but it is during these solo shows that his own skill is most apparent. His distinctive jangly guitar is as comforting as his pleasant baritone voice. Usually Peter’s stories are as entertaining as his songs, but today he had other things on his mind. Specifically politics. I’m always willing to give folks a chance to express their opinion, but then they need to move on. Instead of making a quick plea to the audience to get out and vote in the upcoming election as Will Sheff did recently at the Barrymore, Peter occasionally let himself get carried away by his beliefs. In my experience, the show-going crowd tends to be fairly politically savvy, we’re not in need of convincing. Still, it was hard not to be somewhat moved by his passion.

Opener Antje Duvekot had been challenged by Peter to ride her bike to the show, and she took him up on it biking thirty some odd miles from wherever it was she was at. The thing is, she did it without the training, and she had to ride back the next day, that’s gotta hurt. Peter certainly seems to like girl singers and Antje was almost a stereotypical opener. A sweet voiced, intelligent singer, she professed to not believing in God though she would if there was only some proof. The great Catch 22 of religion, belief without evidence requires some work. Still, she’s trying to figure it all out by writing songs about it. Both she and Peter seemed to relish the idea of riding bike to the show because it allowed them to wear clothes they normally wouldn’t on stage. For Antje that meant a pullover fleece, while Peter was sporting “capros.” His groan-inducing term referred to the male equivalent of capris. Yeah… maybe tonight he should have just stuck to singing.

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