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Sound Stage

Easter show in like a (bad) lion but with a brilliant finish


Vaudeville Mews was host to a slew of indie-folk acts on Easter Sunday. While not everything on stage this night was pretty, the good did outweigh the bad.

Julie Thoreen of Har-Di-Har.

Julie Thoreen of Har-Di-Har.

Doubting Daniel and the Deliverance is a five-piece whose titular front man served as Exhibit A as to why so many people want to punch hipsters in the face. While the rest of the band did their level best, it’s hard to overcome a train wreck of that magnitude. Daniel’s songs sound like an over-confident, first-year, creative writing major and are saddled with cringe-inducing pun titles like “Marquee Mark.” Meanwhile, his between-song banter is like a drunken best man at a wedding reception, clutching desperately to the microphone and oblivious to the fact that everyone’s shifting uncomfortably while he talks about what happened at the bachelor party.

Illustrating just how wide the schism is between bad indie folk and the good stuff, Har-Di-Har took the stage next and was transcendent. The Cedar Falls duo of Julie and Andrew Thoreen are as solid an example of Midwest Americana as you’re going to find, and their harmonies, combined with a unique stage presence — the two share a drum kit while pulling double duty on keyboard (Julie) and guitar (Andrew) — made more than a few converts. Andrew’s guitar work is understated and competent, but Julie is clearly the star of the show. Beautiful and charming, she engaged the crowd from word one.

Finally, it was the River Monks’ turn, and the slowly growing crowd that turned out to see them was not disappointed. The Monks are the cream of the crop in Des Moines folk, and its dedication to its craft is evident. Alternating between songs from its last album and examples off its upcoming sophomore effort, the six-piece entertained the crowd from beginning to end. CV

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