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Sound Stage

Gas Lamp goes acoustic

4/24/2013

Ryne Doughty settled into an acoustic performance at Gas Lamp on Wednesday, April 17.

Ryne Doughty settled into an acoustic performance at Gas Lamp on Wednesday, April 17.

We can forget sometimes about the simple pleasure of an acoustic set. The hard rock and metal acts that dominate Des Moines’ landscape aren’t predisposed to an acoustic sound — a simple fact for which they can’t really be faulted — and the indie acts that dip a toe into acoustic waters tend to do so with an eye more toward irony than artistry.

Furthermore, the number of venues that lend themselves to an acoustic show are few, and you don’t normally think of Gas Lamp as being among them. The go-to venue in Des Moines for your weekly punk fix, Gas Lamp, did indeed switch gears a bit on Wednesday last week and welcomed local favorite Ryne Doughty, as well as Nashville resident, by way of Seattle and Twin Falls, Idaho, Korby Lenker.

Two sides of the same coin, Doughty and Lenker are a couple of genuine, earnest songwriters with a shared penchant for telling intimate, little stories about navigating daily life. Of the two, Lenker is the more polished performer, but opening act Doughty’s songwriting compares very favorably to Wednesday’s headliner.

On a stormy night that saw power outages and weather bad enough to keep most sane people indoors, Doughty and Lenker lured a brave few who had made their way to Gas Lamp and gathered them in close to tell stories about love and life. There was nothing flashy in either man’s performance, and the histrionics taking place in the clouds outside served as a stark contrast to the sublime guitars and vocals on display at the front of the bar.

Lenker played The Grapevine a couple of weeks ago and is sure to make his way back to the capital city soon. As for Doughty, he’s a regular feature at el Bait Shop and an excellent local reminder of simple pleasures. CV

Barmuda