The Vaudeville Mews puts together shows like a 4-year-old picks out its own clothes. Take, for example, last Saturday night: Brooklyn, N.Y., indie four-piece Grooms came through town, and Des Moines indie outfit In Rooms opened up for them. But the issue was the act that took the stage to kick the evening off.
I say “act,” because, while some people might be into the sounds Kamrar makes and some might even be willing to pay to watch, there is absolutely nothing about the act that even remotely resembles a band. This is completely fine in the right context.
Turns out, the right context wasn’t leading off an indie pop bill at the Mews on a Saturday night. I arrived later than planned, only to find the house and stage dark, 20 or so people kind of milling around talking, and some sort of ambient noise album being played before the first band took the stage. About five minutes later, I realized that ambient noise was the first act.
Sitting on the stage around a dimly lit table lamp were two guys twiddling knobs and playing with a tape deck for a couple dozen vaguely interested attendees. That crowd thinned before Kamrar was even done, and the remainder halved after they finished, leaving poor In Rooms (which was only alright, by the way, and Heather Leo’s electric mandolin was the most noteworthy thing about the set) to play in front of seven people.
Walk into a house party somewhere and hear Kamrar doing its thing in a corner, and it would probably feel perfectly fitting. It might even hold your interest for a while. But Saturday’s Mad Libs-style booking adventure instead took a show that could have been a decent draw, and smothered it with a pillow. CV