Friday, October 31, 2014


Sound Stage

A High water mark

5/15/2013

Kat Darling, one half of the band High Crest. This photo was taken at her solo performance at Ritual Café a couple weeks ago.

Kat Darling, one half of the band High Crest. This photo was taken at her solo performance at Ritual Café a couple weeks ago.

After watching four of the capital city’s female songwriters perform solo on the Ritual Café’s stage just a couple weeks ago, I’ve had the good fortune of catching two of them performing with their bands a short time after. Last week I got to see Lavonne McRoberts and Peace, Love and Stuff at Gas Lamp, and this past week it was off to The GrapeVine for Kat Darling performing with her husband Aaron Short as The High Crest.

The GrapeVine is a remarkable live music experience. Listening rooms are few and far between, and when you couple the devotion to audience attention with the venue’s tiny size, you’ve got a uniquely intimate opportunity to enjoy some great music.

When it came to holding up their end of that bargain, The High Crest did not disappoint. Darling had played many of the duo’s songs solo at the Ritual Café, but having Short on stage with her clearly adds a new dimension. Not only is Short an excellent guitarist, but the way he and Darling harmonize together creates a warm, complete sound that give the songs a feeling of warmth and depth that one voice just can’t provide.

There were a couple of spots early in the performance where Short’s fingers got ahead of him on the guitar strings but not enough to detract from the music. Extremely minor hiccups aside, it was a beautiful acoustic set. “Stay” remains my favorite of the duo’s songs, but this evening’s set was stolen by Darling and Short’s young daughter, who joined the pair on stage toward the end of the evening to help her dad sing a children’s song entitled “10 Foot Dragon.” It was a microcosm of the night: whimsical, lovingly performed and thoroughly charming. CV

DM Art Center

Chad Taylor is an award-winning news journalist and music writer from Des Moines.

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