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Trampled By Turtles @ The Mint, 4/22/10

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The depressing joint on Pico and La Cienega Blvd known as The Mint rarely books bands that will rock your socks off. I blame the chairs. Any place that calls itself a music venue and has chairs and tables on the dance floor, is sure to be a subdued affair. Not to mention an establishment that makes you buy a drink for the privilege of sitting down even though you just paid a cover to get in there. Add those elements together and you've got a pretty stale atmosphere most nights. Unless! Every once and awhile, if you're really really lucky, you get a traveling band coming through town who doesn't know any better and books a gig there. On those very rare occasions, the Mint shakes off its cobwebs and people actually get to dance.

Last Thursday was just such an occasion. The bluegrass outfit Trampled By Turtles from Duluth, MN decided to play their Los Angeles debut at this dreary little club and transformed the whole building. It was almost as if folk fairies came down and blessed the place before they went on because the change was nothing short of miraculous. By nine o'clock on Thursday night, the place was packed with people. It was a bizarre crowd full of middle aged bluegrass fanatics, who probably thought that they were in for a subdued evening, and half naked hippies, who jumped around like mad things in a semi-mosh fashion, whose spinning dreadlocks threatened to remove the eyeballs of anyone who came near them.