REVIEW: Lake Street Dive at Summerfest

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“I know I don’t even need to mention how beautiful this next singer’s voice is.” The emcee stated referring to the lead singer of Lake Street Dive. Man, was he right. Rachel Price comes out with her sultry voice and amazing band to sweep the Uline Stage at Summerfest right off their feet. It wasn’t without a little hesitation from fest goers who weren’t familiar with the band. However, by the end of the show, the dad who was clearly dragged there by her teenage daughter was moving and clapping with the music. Might be from a little Steely Dan cover song assistance but I’ll get to that later.

The Band 

Forming in 2004 on the cobblestoned streets of Boston, MA. Lake Street Dive derived their name from the dive bars that had been known on that particular street in Beantown. Although sounding like they would be your average bar band, LSD draws their roots to the New England Conservatory of Music. However, this Boston born band no longer claims it mainstay there as they travel all around the world and are now based out of Brooklyn. Starting as a quartet with Rachel Price (Lead Vocals), Mike “McDuck” Olson (trumpet, guitar), Bridget Kearney (upright bass), and Mike Calabrese (drums). The band has since spread gained keyboardist. Their sound can be considered southern rock soul revival, with a tinge of alt-jazz and folk rock. Also known as a multigenre conglomerate of this shit sounds amazing. 

The Experience

Although having been around for 15 years now, Lake Street Dive is really hitting their stride now with the popularization of that type of sound. But unlike the dirty tinged southern soul rockers that have become more popular like Nathanial Rateliff and The Night Sweats, LSD utilizes their most powerful weapon, Australian born Rachel Price. This woman is an absolute force of vocal talent. Reminiscent of Amy Winehouse meets Shania Twain, Rachel belts out the lows and highs of every song making each song unique and forming its own character. 

This doesn’t mean we should shy away from the other talent on stage. Each individual member of this band brings something to the table that is clear they have mastered their craft and practiced long hours. It was beautiful to hear each member of their band display their immense talent. Almost like they were forming an ultimate Power Ranger. Their newest member Akie Bermiss on the keys, stood out to me when Rachel invited him to sing one of their songs, and the smooth pipes on him paired with the keyboard made it clear that each member is proud of one another. It created this feeling of down-home goodness that makes you love the band dynamic even more. 

It’s rare to see bands like this come alive together on stage but one part that truly stuck out was where they got “intimate with the crowd’. All the band members got together on the stage to sing into one, old-timey microphone and performed covers such as “I’m A Fool” by Steely Dan, “Strangers” by The Kinks, “Everyday People” by Sly and the Family Stone, and even a Mavis Staples cover “I’m Just Another Soldier”. This was welcomed by some of the older crowd members, but throughout the show, it was clear their fan base was larger than I expected. 

They played hits off of their newest album Free Yourself Up which clearly had the fans going as well as a few songs from past albums. Toting a strong following of 20’s females it was clear they were just as enamored with Rachel Price as the guys were. She clearly had a blast on stage dancing over the place to her band during solos and not missing any cues to talk to the audience. 

The Verdict

Lake Street Dive is the highlight of my Summerfest 2019 shows this year. They came out with such carefree attitudes and played their absolute hearts out. Anytime it’s clear the band wants to be there, the show is instantly elevated. This is definitely a band that sounds just as good live as they do in the studio. Partly due to their education, partly due to their tenure as a band together for 15 years, but honestly because they just love it. 

If you are into that type of sound as I am, I would absolutely check out everything they’ve done and make sure you don’t miss them the next time they come to town. 

Setlist:

  • Neighbor Song
  • You Are Free
  • Rabid Animal
  • Red Light Kisses
  • Rental Love
  • Darryl
  • Baby, Don’t Leave Me Alone With My Thoughts
  • Dude
  • Free Yourself Up
  • I’m A Fool – (Steely Dan Cover)
  • Strangers – (The Kinks Cover)
  • Everyday People – (Sly & the Family Stone cover)
  • I’m Just Another Soldier – (The Staple Singers cover)
  • Just Ask
  • Call Off Your Dogs
  • Seventeen
  • You Go Down Smooth
  • Good Kisser

Encore:

  • Bad Self Portraits
  • Rich Girl -(Daryl Hall & John Oates cover)
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