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Sound Stage

Ladies of Rock

12/5/2012

Lavonne McRoberts of Peace Love and Stuff.

Rae and the Honeybees are, in a word, delightful. Titular front-woman Rae Fehring is a nakedly honest storyteller and has a silky-smooth voice that’s more than capable of handling the emotional swings in her songs. Kicking off a show at Gas Lamp in front of two bands known for having high energy, Fehring and partner Jennae Kohls turned in a performance that was sweet and engaging. And while the duo provided plenty of energy of their own, they were at their poetic, emotional best when they slowed the pace down during ballads like “Hallelujah.”                 

Also on stage Friday: It can be hard to look at Peace Love and Stuff and see much besides singer Lavonne McRoberts. Not only because she looks the part — all vintage style with Kewpie doll looks — but because she’s loud, bombastic and bursting with energy on stage. She also has the good fortune of being backed by some really excellent musicians. Guitarist Dylan Boyle’s slide work was absolutely blistering, and the rockabilly rhythms churned out by bassist Jake Doll and drummer Joe McGuire were spot-on. “I, I, I” is my favorite track from the band, but its closing cover of Johnny Cash’s “Folsom Prison Blues” was arguably the song of the night.            

Whenever compiling a list of the best female talent in Des Moines, Friday night’s headliner, Bonne Finken, should always be near the top. Finken’s vocals are top notch, and watching her perform live is like watching the Pentecostals speak in tongues: Finken loses herself for minutes at a time, fearlessly engulfed in each song. On this night, Finken switched easily between her original material (of which, “I’m Thinking” was her best) and covers of acts ranging from Grace Potter to Brittany Spears, emphatically closing the show with Led Zeppelin’s “Whole Lotta Love” and Janice Joplin’s “Me and Bobby McGee.” CV

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