For national acts touring through Denver, "the party doesn't have to stop at the encore," says Lipgloss co-founder Michael Trundle (boyhollow). Instead, bands can walk across the street from the Bluebird, fresh from playing to a packed crowd, and deejay at Lost Lake Lounge. They did twice last weekend: On Friday, Reverend Peyton's Big Damn Band held an after-party there. And on Saturday it was Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr.
Outside the club, circa midnight Saturday, about forty people stood in a line outside Lost Lake. Some were shivering, some were eating pizza from down the block, and some were engaged in the usual flirting and texting and low-level cavorting. Meanwhile, across the street at the Bluebird, most folks were still in the venue.
The Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. show came to a close, and some concert-goers began skipping their way across Colfax as if they were playing a live-action game of Frogger. Their Bluebird tickets got them a discount at Lost Lake, as they usually do for these after-parties.
Still, not all those shivering in front of the Lounge were there for the after-party. Stoner rocker Dead Meadow was in the middle of a set in the Lost Lake's back room. Within a span of only about fifteen minutes, the band would finish its show and break down equipment while Trundle and a couple of guys brought up the DJ equipment. A growing crowd of drunken scenesters milled about and jockeyed for a spot at the bar.
An LCD Soundsystem song played at high volume right after Dead Meadow finished its decidedly un-dancy set. The place emptied out while a new crowd moved in. Here came the Bluebird crowd, not ready for the night to end.
After Trundle set up for the band-turned-DJs and grabbed two shots of Jameson for them, he took a minute to tell us how one of Denver's best dive bars has turned into an occasional dance club.
"Sometimes bands don't want to hit the road or go back to their hotel after their gig," he says. Nearby, a drunk guy put his hands on a girl's head. (Advice: Don't do this.)
Last weekend's DJ sets were a good example of how some of Lost Lake's nights have changed since Larimer Lounge owner and AEG talent buyer Scott Campbell bought the venue a few months back. He promised changes,suggesting to Westword in December that he might add a couple garage doors or expand the outdoor patio. Now we're seeing some of the non-brick-and-mortar changes to Lost Lake.
Campbell had been booking the DJ nights in the space prior to purchasing Lost Lake from Matt LaBarge in December. Now that he owns it outright, we'll likely see even more Bluebird headliners finishing their nights across the street.
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Not all bands who play the Bluebird on Saturdays do DJ sets. Professional name-brand DJs fall into that category. "We don't want people not going to the [Bluebird] show because they think they can just go to the afterparty," says Trundle. These late-night events are primarily for rock acts who you might not assume could operate a turntable.
And it's not always going to happen, anyway. Some bands simply don't get the mechanics of deejaying or care to, while others don't have the national recognition to bring in the crowds. For those who do, however, there's a certain charm for fans who wonder what music these bands are currently into. Built to Spill frontman Doug Martsch, for example, did a set in December. Of course, the fact that acts are deejaying in a space the size of a living room right after playing on the Bluebird's stage gives the after-parties a little more intimacy.
The next Lost Lake after-party currently on the schedule features a DJ set by The Black Lips on April 2.
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