The Swimming Chalupa Sisters - This is my first time at this 'ballroom' and I am not exactly expecting a ballroom. What I get is a upstairs/downstairs bar/restaurant with a small stage upstairs. It's like the Velvet Lounge with a smaller stage and a bar in the back. It is quite crowded, so it is a popular enough place and with a couple bands (and a DJ I skip) tonight with no cover, the crowd is relaxed and having a good time. The 'sisters' are up first and feature only one woman on vocals and percussion. They also have a guy playing banjo and handling a lot of the vocals. The final member is horse looking resplendent in his suit and hat. It is a male horse and the full length mask is actually quite impressive. Obviously this is planned to be light and entertaining and it succeeded in a light way. Bluesy country & western with a backwoods feeling is the main course. The horse's electric guitar work was nice when it was featured. The songs were homey but did not sound too terribly strong. The main problem was that the PA delivered soft fuzzy vocals. Likable enough for the price, although I could have done without the Steely Dan cover. Although Steely Dan covers work with me better than the originals.
The Fed - I've listened to this local 4-piece's brand of garage rock in the past, both live and on record. They had some rough spots live, but the recorded music showed some nice ability. They have two guitars with a rhythm section. Unfortunately, the sound tonight is going to make it impossible to really get a full feel for what they are doing. They do push their sound as well as they can by banging out some decent rockers. And it is playing shows like this that will help them get things together and find their best songs and arrangements. Overlooking the sound quality, the music was enjoyable enough and the crowd was quite respectful of getting decent music for no cover (as well they should). Ron Paul may want to eliminate 'The Fed', but I never did like the gold standard. Garage rock is much more fun than precious metal.
I stumbled upon this review of another band called Fed and I would like to point out to the other writer that while he may be thinking he is complimenting this band by saying they are not a garage band, he in fact has doomed them to the dull mainstream wannabees they are. "Well-crafted modern rock" is what they call it and that is a description I hope to never use, even for those bands that play well-crafted modern rock. I'll stick with DC's Fed and all the other bands that come from the garage.
Quote of the Night: From the horse... "This is not a gimmick. This is who I am!"