Cooking with a delicious swirl of jazz, soul, rock and R&B, Lake Street Dive whip up a blend of music that nods to the past and winks at you from the here and now.
The Brooklyn-based quartet put on a mesmerizing, 90-minute concert inside the Newport Music Hall. Joined by an auxiliary keyboardist, trumpeter/guitarist Mike Olson, drummer Mike Calabrese and standup bass player Bridget Kearney laid down a thick roux of American musical styles for Rachael Price’s simmering vocal performances.
Beguiling in a sheer, ankle-length skirt and sleeveless back top, Price demanded attention with her stage presence — using her mic stand as a dance partner, strutting across the stage and doing leg kicks in Kearney’s direction as the bassist plucked the fattest notes you’ll hear from an upright — and earned it with her powerful vocals as she stretched notes and bounded across octaves like an singing gymnast. As the musicians chimed in with flawless two-, three- and four-part harmonies that raised goosebumps, Lake Street Dive proved itself as vocally adept as it is musically adventurous.
With nothing much more than a quick “thank you” between songs, the band peeled off some 18 original tracks in rapid-fire succession and showcased bits of its entire catalog.
“Bad Self Portraits” set a funky tone in the opening slot; “Saving all My Sinning” was a call to the weekend, Price suggested; “Don’t Make Me Hold Your Hand” married rock and blues; and “Call off Your Dogs” added dance music to the group’s expansive musical palette. The sultry “Seventeen” and “You Go Down Smooth” showed off Lake Street Dive’s sassy and sexy sides, respectively.
The show’s two covers lent yet another facet to the shining performance.
With Olson on trumpet and Calabrese on tambourine, the foursome gathered around a single mic to render George Michael’s “Faith” an infectious sock hop-cum-church service. They closed the show with Paul McCartney and Wings’ “Let Me Roll It,” which featured Olson recreating the song’s famous six-string riff with his horn and a wailing Price adding a few power chords on her bandmate’s axe.
The show was too short; however, it would’ve also been too short if Lake Street Dive had played for three hours.