Lake Street Dive’s Eclectic Sound Can Appeal to All

By Ellie Bruckner 

By playing both guitar and trumpet, Mike “McDuck” Olson adds instrumental versatility to Lake Street Dive. (Courtesy of Flickr)

By playing both guitar and trumpet, Mike “McDuck” Olson adds instrumental versatility to Lake Street Dive. (Courtesy of Flickr)

Earlier this month, Lake Street Dive performed in front of their largest audience to date at Radio City Music Hall. The packed hall of over 6,000 people was filled with nothing but excitement and pure awe of the raw talent on the stage.

This modern rock band got its start 12 years ago after all four of the band’s members met while attending New England Conservatory of Music in Boston. The group is comprised of lead singer Rachael Price, upright bassist-vocalist Bridget Kearney, drummer Mike Calabrese and guitarist/trumpet player Mike “McDuck” Olson. All of the band’s members had either been singing or playing their instruments by the time they reached the third grade, and most had some sort of classical musical training as children.

This musical background and combination of many instruments gives this band the unique sound that has put them on the map for modern alternative music. The sound, although difficult to describe, can best be characterized as a mix between jazz, country, 1960s Soul and old school Rock ‘n’ Roll.

Currently on tour for its fifth studio album, Side Pony, the band featured many songs from this album during the show. A large amount of music played also came from their 2014 studio album, which brought them the band members their first taste of mainstream popularity, Bad Self Portraits. For long-term fans, the band dipped into some of its oldest music from its first few albums. The group sustained its high energy throughout the show and encouraged participation from the audience, making it impossible to not be having fun at any point during the show. After a full, impressive and inspiring set, it was unclear whether the band would be coming out for an encore.

In current concert culture, the practice of an encore is more expected rather than questioned. Large bands leave the stage with the attitude that they will be back on. When Lake Street Dive exited, however, they did so with genuine thanks and appreciation, leaving the audience begging for an encore. To everyone’s delight the band re-appeared and, in a true testament to its musical talent, broke into a seamless cover of “Bohemian Rhapsody” which left the audience smiling and dancing all the way home.

The draw to this band is that you can witness its talent and be a part of its passion for music. Throughout their performance, the band had designated times for each member to showcase his or her abilities. The audience sat in awe and disbelief as extensive drum, bass and horn solos were performed. Lead singer Price was also given ample time to illustrate her powerful, soulful voice. As a person who loves live music and frequently attends concerts, this show was unlike any other I had been to.

Although the band has been together and making music for 12 years, the genuine happiness and fun that the members have on stage is apparent. It was refreshing to see a musical group be in awe of the audience it was performing in front of, while owning the stage in the manner that it did. The members’ many years of performing together have given them remarkable stage chemistry, allowing them to flow seamlessly through songs and perfect their repertoire. Between their unique sound, pure talent and inspiring stage presence, they have something that can be appreciated by anyone.


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