When Carmaig DeForest first hit the local club scene a few years back, the kid with the ukulele seemed like an engaging if slight talent. After quickly dispelling any Tiny Tim comparisons, DeForest enrolled in the Jonathan Richman school of whimsical modern folk song.
Friday night at the Anticlub, with a drummer and bassist embellishing his sound, DeForest demonstrated continuing advancement in his material and performance. DeForest expertly twisted his tales, singing his sardonic and sweet recollections with a happy snarl.
DeForest is more literary (and aggressive) than Richman these days, and though his street-smart observations are sometimes reminiscent of Lou Reed, DeForest doesn't engage in Reed's sometimes passive detachment. His litany of political devils, "Hey Adolf," is a damning indictment of the Reagan Administration and could become a left-wing anthem.
With its internal rhymes and wordplay, DeForest's writing could easily come off as cleverness for its own sake. But the appealing humility he projects in performance averts that danger. As the title of one of his songs, "Possibilities," suggests, Carmaig DeForest is just beginning to tap his talents.