Lake Trout - Daily Dig! 12/13/07

December 13, 2007
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Thursday Dig: Lake Trout

By Joshua Valocchi

Posted: Dec 13, 2007 3:38 PM

Tonight North Star Bar hosts Lake Trout, the band that toured with the Flaming Lips this past September, for only $16 a pop. Go.

Lake Trout

Dec. 13, 9 p.m. $16. With Underwater + What Monsters.

North Star Bar, 2639 Poplar St. 215.684.0808.

For years, Baltimore’s Lake Trout toiled in the jamband circuit, playing shows and festival gigs in front of people who either failed to appreciate or didn’t understand their music. It was nobody’s fault, really. Lake Trout never set out to infiltrate the circuit. It just so happened that several solos featured on their 1997 debut were just bubbly enough to hook the attention of some Deadheads and Phish phans and, voila – suddenly Lake Trout was pigeonholed by circumstance.

As they made their bones on the rather lucrative jam circuit, Lake Trout continued to develop their sound, integrating hip-hop-inspired breakbeats to their heavily rock-leaning sound, eventually going full-on live drum ‘n’ bass, thus essentially driving the final nails into their own coffin – at least as far as that circuit was concerned.

As the law of averages would logically dictate, the band still managed to pry at least a small cadre of fans from the scene. Still, it was quite a shock to the system to see Lake Trout playing the bar circuit after years of rocking huge festival stages. Money matters aside, however, the switch certainly suited the quintet well.

In 2005, the band worked with legendary producer Dave Fridmann (Super Furry Animals, Mercury Rev), as they fleshed out the excellent “Not Them, You.” The influence of Fridmann – often referred to as the fifth Flaming Lip – is clearly evident, from the soaring near-orchestral soundscapes scattered throughout the album to their diligently utilitarian version of the Rolling Stones’ “Street Fightin’ Man.”

Not surprisingly, word of Fridmann’s association with the band eventually spread to Flaming Lips frontman Wayne Coyne. Coyne’s ever-increasing deferential attitude toward Fridmann’s choice of clientele led him (Coyne) to check out Lake Trout on his own. Liking what he heard, Coyne invited Lake Trout to tour with the Lips this past September.

Just like that, Lake Trout was playing the big stage again, but this time for a crowd that not only appreciated their music, but truly “got it.” The roller coaster ride continues at the North Star tonight. Even a band that comes highly recommended by the psych rock demi-god Coyne still faces an uphill battle to lure Philadelphians out to the Art Museum area on such a dreary night.

All things considered, this makes for the perfect opportunity to check out Lake Trout live. They haven't abandoned their old drum ‘n’ bass ways, choosing instead to weave new-found aspects around their old influences. Consequently, their once-trademark gut-rumbling basslines will be in full effect tonight with little to get in the way of sonic absorption. Beyond that, the band is still in the throes of creative evolution, ensuring that their live set consists of a delicious mish-mosh of influences and texture. A hint of “Bends”-era Radiohead may be followed with something more evocative of DJ Shadow’s “Endtroducing” before wrapping up with a breakbeat peppered trippy synth underneath a flute loop that sounds like, well, Lake Trout.

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