From the moment that Lake Street Dive started setting up on stage at the Albino Skunk Music Festival, I knew there was something special about this band. How often is the drummer set up at the front of the stage with the rest of the band when you see a show?
As the band launched into their set, I immediately realized that I was watching and listening to an incredible band, and was in for a great musical experience. The group, based in New York, is made up of musicians from across the country that met when they were all students at The New England Conservatory of Music in Boston, MA. Singer Rachel Price hails from Tennessee, Drummer Mike Calabrese from Philly, Bassist Bridget Kearney from Iowa, and guitarist/trumpet player Mike "McDuck" Olson from Minneapolis MN. Their influences and talent gratefully merged in Boston, as they absolutely kick butt on the stage.
As Rachel Price's smooth, soulful voice and the band's tight rhythms played, I thought "How have I never heard these guys before?!?".
Even though Rachel Price is the primary vocalist, all of the band contribute vocals, and every member has multiple moments during their show where they showcase their talents.
As the band started playing, it soon became obvious why their stage setup deviated from the traditional "drummer shoved in the back" layout, as Mike Calabrese puts on a show of his own with his style, cool fills, and overall flair for entertaining. It is like watching Jerry Lee Lewis playing a drumset instead of a piano.
Bridget Kearney's standup bass style has a melodic, funky backbone to it that makes your feet move and hands tap on the arm of your chair. It is almost like the bass is singing some soul song from the 60's.
Mike Olson's trumpet is like a one man Tower Of Power horn line. As with the other members, his style has it's own characteristics, and fills in at just the right places in the songs. I have heard bands that over do it with horns in their songs, and Mike has just the right recipe to keep you wanting more trumpet. His outstanding guitar skills show through as well.
Their style is in a category by itself, with a pinch of classic Motown, 60's Jazz, 50's Rock, and 70's Funk. Lake Street Dive is definitely a group effort by musicians that enjoy playing together, and the crowd ate it up as they took in the show and the laid back party at the Skunk Farm.
Their original songs, while touching on personal subjects, deliver the lyrics in a light-hearted fun way, and many times, with a dose of humor. Some of the original songs played included "Use Me Up", "Stop Your Crying", "Bad Self Portraits", "Miss Disregard", "Henriette", "Neighbor Song", "Bobby Tanqueray", and "Hello? Goodbye!"
Throughout both of their sets, Lake Street Dive mixed their originals with fun covers, including a rousing "Faith" by George Michael, a mellow/jazzy"I Want You Back" from the Jackson 5, and one of my favorite moments - a crowd participation version of Hall & Oates "Rich Girl" (Nothing like a sing along chorus from moonshine-infected music fans! – check out the video below).
I strongly suggest that you visit their website and Facebook page to check out their and look at their tour schedule to plan your visit to see this band live in action. I know I've already marked my calendar and am looking forward to their upcoming Asheville, North Carolina show.
Lake Street Dive is:
Rachel Price – Vocals
Mike Calabrese – Drums/Vocals
Bridget Kearney – Bass/Vocals
Mike "McDuck" Olson – Guitar/Trumpet/Vocals
Videos courtesy of Brian Kelly Multimedia.
Lake Street Dive - "Use Me Up"
Lake Street Dive - "Rich Girl" (Hall & Oates cover)
Lake Street Dive - "Stop Your Crying"
Photos courtesy of Mother Shutter Photography.