An Evening With Velcro Lewis & His 100 Proof Band.

Club Midway isn't a club in the Fiddy-Cent sort of way; it's just a bar. Down the stairs leads you to the stage area. Jenny said there'd be an $8 cover to get in; this didn't settle well with Emily and myself who abhor covers based on principle. When we first entered the bar, there wasn't anyone standing by the front door, so we thought we got in for free. No such luck, as the guy taking money sat on a stool downstairs. We were there to see Used To Be Women, the lead singer of which is Jenny's friend Joe. However, Donald and I figured we'd go downstairs early and see the band playing before. Might as well get our money's worth, right?

Velcro Lewis & His 100 Proof Band. Where to begin? The two guitarists looked like they were straight out of Three Dog Night; the bass player was this tall, douchey-looking middle-aged guy; the drummer/singer was this obese black guy with long hair. They were, THE LOUDEST, band I've ever heard. And, I'm not just saying that because Donald and I were right up front due to there not being too many people in attendance, or because the sound system was turned up particularly high. Velcro Lewis & His 100 Proof Band were simply this cacophony of noise coming from all directions. If you've ever heard a band described as having a "Raunchy Sound" - not raunchy in the sense of overly sexual or disgusting in subject matter/appearance, but raunchy as in the SOUNDS they produce sounding dirty, like taking a warm dump and squishing it in between your sweaty hands - know this: No One is/was/ever will be as raunchy as Velcro Lewis & His 100 Proof Band. And I haven't even gotten to the final two members.

They employed this old man in the band. Towards the end of their set, he was playing a second set of drums along with the obese black man. Together, they pounded everyone's eardrums into submission - I frequently noticed Donald, among many others, plugging their ears with their fingers during this set. Before the old man manned the sticks, he was playing ... the Electric Washboard. You know, one of those washboards people used to use to wash their clothes in 1800s Pioneer Times? Yeah, he had one of THOSE connected to an amplifier. To keep the beat or simply make noise, he had a bunch of metal thimbles on his fingers, and he'd scratch the surface repeatedly. It Was AWESOME. Then, of course, there's Velcro Lewis, the lead singer. Yes, this band had two singers, but Velcro Lewis stood at the front, had huge mutton-chops that connected to a bushy moustache - sans beard-accompaniment - and oddly enough wore little-to-no velcro about his person. Velcro Lewis, in addition to having the coolest facial hair I'd ever seen, had a big, fat belly and big, fat man-tits. I couldn't understand a single word he was yelling into the microphone and I didn't care. Every once in a while he'd play this instrument he had standing on this table next to him. It was just a single string-like thing, wrapped taut on this piece of wood. In one hand he had what appeared to be a shot glass that he held against the string, in the other hand he held a little Xylophone mallet which he used to hit against the string. I don't think it made any noise, but whatever. When Velcro Lewis wasn't playing that, he was hitting a tambourine against a cowbell.

That's right, I'll say it again: Tambourine AGAINST a Cowbell. I almost passed out right there from how awesome this band was. Even the crowd was great - it seemed like all their fans had hair down beyond their shoulders and a Rick Rubin-like beard to match. I was so blown away by the lengthiness of their songs and the collage of sound they produced that I went up to Velcro Lewis after the set and requested a couple of their CDs. He gave 'em both to me for ten dollars, it was kickass.

Used To Be Women I've already reviewed before. They were good, they've got the musical chops and all that. But, they're no Velcro Lewis. One thing I noticed this time around is that Used To Be Women had another guitarist I didn't notice the last time I saw them. You know when you're in grade school and you and a bunch of your friends want to play a game of football during recess, but you have an odd number of kids so you make one guy All Time Quarterback? He never plays defense, but he plays quarterback for both teams; usually he's the kid who's the best athlete or has the best arm, but is just too lazy and doesn't give a shit about busting his ass to cover some wide receiver or play safety. Anyway, this new guitarist I noticed, he's like the All Time Quarterback of the band. For most of the song, he'll just be standing there, not even pretending to strum a chord. Then, when it comes time to solo or whatever, he busts out with something usually pretty awesome. I just thought that was funny; over here we have the Lead Guitarist who's busting his ass, over there you've got the Rhythm Guitarist who's playing all his chords with care, and then you've got the All Time Quarterback standing around like he just doesn't give a shit until it's time to snap up all the glory with a technically-sound guitar solo.