Words and photo by Chance Hoener

For my first write-up, I also made my first adventure to Vaudeville Mews since moving to Des Moines about a year ago and plan to go back soon. After driving around downtown looking for a place to park, I finally made it up the street and stepped into the narrow, dark building that is Vaudeville Mews. I had arrived a little early and the minute I walked in I heard a voice as sweet as honeysuckle echoing around the shadows of the venue. Opener, Tom Goss, and the following act, Matt Alber, were warming up and doing sound check, but I could sense that they were putting on a little show for myself and the two other spectators who had arrived early. I grabbed a coke at the bar and took a seat towards the back to wait for the show to begin.

As the show began, I walked to the front to get a better seat. A group of people around me were discussing the condition of the venue and if they thought the acoustics would be very good, but once Tom walked out onto the stage, leaned into the mic, and began to sing, I never heard the topic come up again. Tom opened up with an upbeat pop song, while he danced around the stage and stomped his feet.

Once his first song ended he told the crowd the story behind the song he would play next, a love song that he wrote for his husband, and the concertgoers were wrapped around his finger. Tom displayed a very charismatic stage presence that kept the crowd involved throughout the show. After displaying powerful guitar skills (most of his songs were Jack Johnson-like finger picked ballads with strummed power chord choruses) and an extensive range in his songs “You Know That I Love You” and “Make Believe,” Tom displayed his rapping skills with a kick ass loop-filled cover of “Can’t Hold Us” by Macklemore that Ryan Lewis himself would have been proud of.

To end the show, main act, Matt Alber, joined Tom onstage to perform Tom’s song “Till the End”. Tom picked out the tinny melody, and Matt chimed in on the keys adding an elegant dynamic to the song. As Tom broke into the chorus, Matt provided beautiful back-up harmonies that left the crowd speechless. For one last tune, Tom performed his song “Bears,” a fun one about Tom’s preference for “bears” (If you’re confused by that, check the song out below and I think it will become a little more clear).

In a word, I’d have to say my first trip to the Vaudeville Mews was exciting. I really enjoyed Tom’s performance, even though the pop/guitar acts aren’t usually my thing, and I highly recommend you check him out!