If I had heard “Side Pony” by Lake Street Dive in seventh grade, the trajectory of my life may have been very different. In this deceptively simple song about — you guessed it — wearing your hair in a side ponytail, Rachael Price exudes nothing but confidence and positivity. It’s undeniably catchy and energetic, and it gained Lake Street Dive a decent amount of traction. And yet, it is the song that least demonstrates the bands cataclysmic amount of talent. That’s the thing about Lake Street Dive; even when they’re just messing around and playing covers, their sound has the ability to catch any ear and induce someone to ask, “Who is this song by?”
The Boston-based band is essentially like a four-piece puzzle, as each of the members fit perfectly together. This is most likely due to the fact that these guys aren’t amateurs; they met in 2004 while studying at one of the most renowned music schools in the country, the New England Conservatory of Music. If any of the members were in a different band other than Lake Street Dive, they would vastly overshadow everyone else. But this isn’t another band — this is the earthquake that is Lake Street Dive. Each member of the band produces an equally as powerful and technically impeccable sound, until the pressure explodes into a track like “Mistakes.”
The truth is, however, that Price’s voice is undeniably the driving force behind the band’s success. She’s like a combination of Carole King and Brittany Howard of Alabama Shakes, but even these comparisons don’t do her justice. She doesn’t overload the songs with vocal gymnastics; she just has an uncanny ability to radiate passion.
And while Price’s vocals are truly unmatched, the band’s dynamic sound is exacerbated by Bridget Kearney on the upright bass. I’ve never been one to say, “Damn, that upright bass solo is incredible!” But I dare you to try and not think that during her performances. And let’s not forget the Mikes: Olsen on the trumpet and guitar and Calabrese on the drums. Their classical trainings and love for the Beatles is largely responsible for the incredibly written songs LSD performs.
Their music is jazz; it’s soul; it’s pop; it’s Motown. It’s Lake Street Dive. As they approach their 15th year of playing together, we are honored to have them on the Roots N Blues Music Festival stage once again. If you missed their performance at the 2014 festival, you definitely won’t want to make that mistake again.