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Published: 2003/10/20
by Dave Marley

Lake Trout, Spaceland, Los Angeles- 10/13

East Coast post-jamband indie rock quintet Lake Trout was supposed
to play a free early show Friday night (10/10) at the Echo in Echo Park,
a hipster/gangster neighborhood of Los Angeles, but as I arrived, the
band was standing outside the locked front door, waiting
for…something. This is not atypical for the Echo, one in a long list
of poorly-run "rock clubs" in LA, but the wait does provide the
necessary metaphor that will return clumsily to close this review. I
didn't see Lake Trout that night because the bookers at the Echo
apparently decided at the last minute to add the band to their
late-night lineup and charge $10, which is ten whole dollars more than I
was able to contribute on Friday.

Luckily, I got another chance on Monday (10/13) to see the Trout
for free, as the band got the plum 10pm slot at the venerable Spaceland
of Dreams, anchor of LA's "boho" Silverlake neighborhood. Monday nights
at Spaceland are always free and generally well-attended, since most
music fans living in Los Angeles are in struggling bands themselves and
will shell out up to zero dollars for live music, except when said music
has been seriously hyped, is seriously stylish, is from NYC or
Scandinavia (seriously!), is seriously devoid of substance, and is
presented in a serious and self-important manner. Governor-elect
Schwarzeneggar wouldn't have it any other way.

So Lake Trout got to play to a packed house of eastside LA
scenesters, westside LA "industry types" (more than I usually see on
these nights, leading me to believe that Lake Trout have blipped onto
the radar of the promoters of the "rock revival"), and other people I
frustratingly cannot currently label. To make it easier on the crowd,
Spaceland, like many other clubs, has a built-in invisible barrier that
can be lowered to protect the band and audience from unnecessary
interaction (despite any attempts at such), and it was in full force on
Monday. I confess that although I've seen them several times (all at
festivals, except once opening for Oysterhead in some fallout shelter in
Camden, NJ), I don't know any Lake Trout songs and don't particularly
love the band. Song-based, not jam-based. The guitarist
who used to over-emote has turned it down a notch and was emoting
correctly. But I didn't love it, except for a fierce instrumental that I
obviously don't know the name of but is allowed to sit at the adults
table at the modern-prog-rock Thanksgiving.

Despite my general jaded ambivalence (de rigeur for an unsuccesful musician),
I could definitely detect a serious disconnect between the rhythmic pulsating music coming from the stage and the staid rigidity of the crowd. Lake Trout were not jamming (did they ever? I don't remember), but they were playing
obviously progressive danceable music passionately to a crowd that an
outside observer might guess was solemnly enjoying a museum lecture.
I can't fault the Trout, because they are clearly
much better and more progressive than almost all the bands I see as a
denizen of the Los Angeles rock "underground". The crowd clearly didn't
know what to do with them, perhaps since they weren't wearing matching
suits or haven't been featured on Pitchfork. As is usual in LA,
everybody was waiting for somebody else to tell them that the band was
cool, that they were allowed to enjoy them. Having not gotten that
information, individual Angelenos were left motionless, staring at the
stage, waiting for the headliner (some industry band, of course).

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