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Local Comfort Food

April 27, 2007
By

Last weekend, the music playing over the PA between bands at the Lo-Fi Social Club alternated between indie touchstones like Dinosaur Jr. and big 1980s pop hits by INXS and Peter Gabriel; it’s just that kind of familiar, unpretentious atmosphere that makes us feel more at home each time we visit. Most of our impressions of Vinny Vegas‘ set are based on muffled sounds heard through the wall of the club’s backroom bank vault and the four-song CD the band handed out to audience members. But once we emerged and actually watched VV play its last few songs, we enjoyed the keyboard-driven band’s less histrionic version of the same kind of brooding indie rock take on blue-eyed soul that Fall Out Boy excels at–something that might sound like an insult but isn’t.

A trend is beginning to emerge at the Lo-Fi, where it becomes plainly obvious which band on any given night is the biggest crowd-pleaser, simply by virtue of how many people migrate from the bar in the adjacent room to the main room. By that token, Washington quartet Deleted Scenes was the obvious standout, winning the audience over quickly with an aw-shucks charm and shambling, rustic tunes to match. The Modest Mouse/Neutral Milk Hotel axis of influence is so omnipresent in indie rock these days that we’re predisposed to hate any band that gives off that vibe, but Deleted Scenes overcame that bias to the point that we had to give it up for naggingly catchy tunes like “Day Off Work.” The band’s guitarist kept breaking strings, and after switching guitars a couple times, a member of Vinny Vegas volunteered one of his. But Deleted Scenes had the audience so rapt that, by that point, anyone with a spare E string in the car would’ve run out to get it if that’s what it took to keep the set going.

The headliner, Stock Market Crash, was a no-show, so the night came to an earlier end than expected with power trio Savory James, notable mainly for looking and sounding like it stepped right out of a grainy performance clip from 120 Minutes circa 1994. But beyond that slightly pleasant time warp, Savory James left us listless and reaching for the imaginary remote until toward the end of its set, when it kicked out a galloping up-tempo jam that made us wish all of the band’s songs were that fast. So while none of the bands on the bill left an impression as big as the Monarch and Thrushes show a few weeks ago, there are worse ways to spend a Sunday night than drinking free beer and feasting on the musical comfort food that is eerily familiar indie rock.