“You go down smooooooth,” croons Lake Street Dive frontwoman Rachael Price. The chorus of the single off their new album, Bad Self Portraits, perfectly captures the catchy swagger and easy digestion of the band’s music.
Lake Street Dive’s rise to easily selling out a packed show at Royale may not have been quick, but in the last year they’ve become one of Boston’s most exciting bands. Although their name is inspired by their self-proclaimed “dive bar band” roots, these four musicians combine to sound more like a ’60s chart-topping band than an unpolished, amateur local band.
As this was my first Lake Street Dive show, I wasn’t sure quite what to expect from these hometown heroes, but as soon as I got in among the hum of the awaiting crowd, I knew I was in for quite the treat. The audience bristled with energy, beginning to dance and sing along to the background Motown music playing over the Royale speakers before Lake Street Dive even took the stage.
Sauntering out to “What’s New Pussycat,” Lake Street Dive cut right into “Stop Your Crying,” an anthemic bluesy jam with a strong beat. The show moved gracefully back and forth between both of their albums, showing off both their more jazzy and folky songs and their more bluesy, foot-stomping grooves. To fill out the set, Lake Street Dive welcomed their producer onstage to play on the keyboard, adding another dimension to their sound. Song after song, I found myself brought to that moment where you have to give the “unh” grunt of approval.
The band members’ skill at each of their respective instruments was on full display, with their frontwoman in particular putting on quite an impressive show. From Rachel Price’s swaying hips, all the way to her smooth voice, she knows how to control the stage. Her powerful vocals could not only carry a song, but as the band would drop off to let her voice hold a line, the momentum would actually begin to build. Each additional member was also given the opportunity to show off, with various solos showcasing individual talent throughout the night. A clear standout was their rendition of “Better Than,” a slower ballad performed with astonishing feeling and improvisation by drummer Mike Calabrese and stand-up bassist Bridget Kearney. Throughout the set, the band laughed together and bantered with the crowd, clearly reveling in being back in their hometown and celebrating a successful nationwide tour.
Lake Street Dive began to close out the night by inviting opening act Ages and Ages onstage to join them for “Rental Love.” They wrapped up their set with the fantastic “Go Down Smooth,” which easily embodied the theme of the night. After the last note faded, the one thing left in my mind was the question of when I could see this band next.
Don’t miss out on seeing this fantastic Boston-bred band at Boston Calling this fall.
- Unbelievable talent
- Energy and excitement
- Badass grooves
- Didn't play "I Want You Back"