Five mothers tuck in their kids at night, sneak out to bars and play garage-rock. Sounds like an Archie comic rip-off, but Frump really exists, and I had to see what the band sounded like. Too bad I stupidly overestimated their start time on Friday. When I walked into Bar of Soap at 11 p.m., all I caught was a middle-aged round of applause, a wicker basket full of merch and a baby...in the bar. In fact, the only performance I caught was Frump loading its instruments back into the band SUV.
Worse than showing up late to Frump, though, was arriving early for The Alchemists. The duo took 45 minutes to start their first-ever concert, and their three-song set prompted Klogz's Mark Ridlen (aka DJ Mr. Rid from XPO Lounge's Scaraoke, who was celebrating his birthday that night) to walk to the stage and ask when the band would be finished. To their credit, the guys pulled off substantial range for a 10-minute set by shifting from Handsome Family quirkiness to spacey ambience, but pre-recorded laptop beats did a lot more work than the simple guitar and keyboard parts played live.
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Klogz closed the night with a hearty chunk of mod rock, and birthday boy Rid sported an indifferent attitude with both his pajamas and his vocals, but it was his party, anyway. The other band members picked up the slack with tight play, though guitar solos were few and far between, and early in the set, Chao's Regina Chellew lifted the band with guest vocals that fondly recalled Marianne Faithfull. Covers and original songs melted into one big, glam-loving blur, and everybody in the crowd seemed just fine with that. Even the baby.