EMA's show proved Lost Lake Lounge has large venue sound with small venue charm
Bringing the bombast, drama and light show of a larger venue to Lost Lake, EMA and opening act Mas Ysa pushed enough air to test the sound system of most smaller rooms to its limits. Mas Ysa even commented that he thought he was overloading the monitor, but it didn't sound like it on the receiving end of the music. It hasn't been too new a development, but the room where the performance went down didn't have that 1970s American Legion hall vibe that gave the older look of the place its kitschy charm for some and the old school dive air for others. Sure, there were holes in the tiles of the drop ceiling, but mostly it felt like walking into a small, dark club in a downtown area of a larger city instead of a small, homey bar on Colfax.
Tom Murphy EMA at Lost Lake Lounge
The east wall appeared to be decked out in dark padding. Gone also were the booths, chairs, photo booth and other features that used to adorn the room. This gives the place a more spacious ambiance and makes room for a small stage that elevates the band off the floor. In its own way it was as dramatic a change as when the Lion's Lair moved the stage to the northwest corner of the bar rather than across the bar along the west wall.
A real sound system is in place, and EMA and Mas Ysa both sounded vibrant and clear. The room also didn't feel as jumbled as it had in its earlier set-up. The bar proper is largely the same but also feeling more opened up. It felt cozy before like a neighborhood bar should but in some ways the change has made it feel like 15th Street Tavern minus the sewer smell of the end and without sticky floors but with a bit of a separation of spaces.
Tom Murphy Mas Ysa at Lost Lake Lounge
Mas Ysa's one-man display of complex knob turnings triggering various sounds would have come off more like a DJ set, but it had more in common with the sort of electro-pop songcrating of the earlier end of the "chillwave" artists. Except Ysa employed more robust low end, which pulsed through the room but never came off as overwhelming. That came with the beginning of EMA's set. The performance might not have worked, but Mas Ysa was so enthusiastic and put so much energy behind his vocals, interspersed with unaffected, self-deprecating humor, that you ended up liking him as much as his music. And as much air as he was pushing, the system seemed to handle it with no trouble.