Lake Street Dive wins big at Terminal 5

By Matthew Mahoney

Via Matthew Mahoney for WSN

After a great opening set from Amy Helm, and several minutes spent setting up the stage for the headlining act of the night, the iconic “Eye of the Tiger” began playing over the speakers in Manhattan’s Terminal 5 on Nov. 21.

Marching out onto the stage came the members of Brooklyn-based blues/jazz/rock group Lake Street Dive. The band, who met in 2004 while studying at the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston, has been touring their latest full-length album, released this past February, all year. The stop in New York was the first of a two-night stop at Terminal 5 on their fall tour, which started in August and wraps up later this month, with a few dates in New England.

The band mentioned later on in their set that they had played their album release show at the intimate Rockwood Music Hall and were truly ecstatic and humbled to be playing two nights at the significantly larger venue.

First to arrive onstage was drummer Mike Calabrese, who cut off “Eye of the Tiger” and began the drum part for “Rabid Animal.” He was followed onstage by bassist Bridget Kearney, playing an upright bass; guitarist and trumpeter Mike Olson, and finally lead vocalist Rachel Price.  It became almost immediately apparent that the band was quite worthy of the attention that they have been receiving throughout the year. Price’s vocals are absolutely fantastic, as was all of the instrumentation.

The band established an amicable rapport with each other and the audience early on as Kearney and Price encouraged the audience to chant “duck” with them. This is apparently a nickname for Olson. Following this, the band played “Bad Self Portraits,” the title track from their latest album, and “Stop Your Crying,” during which the band’s combined vocals on the chorus created a wall of gorgeous noise that shot through the audience with incredible power.

The band promised to play the entirety of “Bad Self Portraits,” a promise that they kept; the set consisted mainly of their latest songs.  There were, however, a few covers including Annie Lennox’s “Walking on Broken Glass” and Van Halen’s “Jump” along with a few songs from their self-titled 2011 album. The band also played a few new songs, which Price said would be released on an album soon, presumably next year; a fact that is not surprising considering the fact that most of Bad Self Portraits was recorded in 2012, but was delayed due to legal problems.

At one point in the show, all four musicians gathered around a single microphone and played two songs in that intimate setting, before returning to their respective stage positions.  The night was ended with a cover of Jackson 5’s “I Want You Back,” the sidewalk rendition of which has been a big proponent of the band’s growing renown, which will hopefully only continue to grow.

Matthew Mahoney is a staff writer. Email him at music@nyunews.com

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