[ATTENDED: October 21, 2012] Trout Fishing in America
Trout Fishing in America is (primarily) a children’s band. They are a duo comprised of Ezra Idlet (who plays the guitar and is six-foot nine inches tall) and Keith Grimwood (who plays bass and is five foot five inches tall). When I first encountered them, Ezra had very long hair–although he no longer does. They are quite a sight onstage (and they play up this height difference a lot).
Trout Fishing is, I assume, a rather successful band. They have been around since 1979! Their first big family friendly record came out in 1991. Amazingly, given their longevity, they are not opposed to playing small venues. Two years ago, they played my son’s elementary school. Which was a hoot.
They came back through the area again and this time they played RVCC. I’ve said before that RVCC gets some pretty major acts, but I’m not sure exactly what went on with this show. They played at 1PM and 3:30PM and rather than perform to the audience in the normal theater seats, they let the (much smaller) audience sit on stage with them.
They erected a small stage–big enough for the two of them and their minimal gear. The audience chairs were arranged around them in three section and my family got front row seats, approximately ten feet from the mini stage. It was wonderful. Since it was the day after Tabitha’s birthday when Keith asked if it was anyone’s birthday Tabby was right up front to get singled out (they said it was okay that her birthday was yesterday).
They played about a dozen songs. And in between songs, their banter was wonderful. They told jokes (Keith juggles), they did left brain/right brain challenges (draw a square with one hand and a triangle with other) and they explained to the kids about the instruments they use (they also do musical instruction at schools).
Some of their songs are quite funny (“My Hair Had a Party Last Night”), other songs are quite sweet (“Lullabye”) and a new song, “Don’t Touch My Stuff” was totally fun for everyone to sing along to. Apparently on a recent swing through Texas, I believe, the band’s van was broken into and all of their gear stolen. The police recovered Ezra’s very cool electric banjo (which was being sold on eBay) but nothing else. So they wrote a song.
They have a wonderful time with the audience in a song like “Simon Says,” where the audience gets to play Simon Says (this was especially fun in such a small setting). I also really enjoyed a song about a really gross bug which I can’t find the name of. And, of course the fairy tale mashup “The Window” is always hilarious. (“Mary Had a Little Lamb, she threw it out the window”).
Most of these songs are original but they also do some wonderful covers: “Proper Cup of Coffee,” “18 Wheels on a Big Rig,” which are fun fan favorites.
After the show, the guys hung around and posed for pictures with everyone. They could not have been nicer, answering questions, asking kids if they wanted to be squished in the pictures and just being super nice.
My only question/concern for the guys is that they’ve been doing many of these songs for a really long time We have the album Family Music Party from 1998, and they are still doing the exact same banter between and during songs as they do on that album. The cool section of “The Window” where Keith sings “Rub a Dub Dub” and Ezra sings “Stairway to Heaven” at the same time is the same exact thing that they did on that 1998 album. Even during the lighthearted jam sections like in Simon Says, Ezra has the audience do the same things as on their 2006 live album My Best Day. I don’t really have a problem with that since their show is quite different with a lot of new songs. I just can’t believe they aren’t going out of their minds doing the same thing for over 15 years.
If you get a chance, see the band. They are silly and funny and most importantly they are great musicians. It’s a wonderful live show, especially if you’re ten feet from the stage.