Whether or not you were at Lake Street Dive’s concert Monday night at the Center for the Arts, if you’re a fan, there’s probably one person you want to talk about.
But, hey. Let’s take a step back. Price is all that, and she showed it on Monday night, cruising, seemingly effortlessly, from the bottom to the top of her nearly three-octave vocal range. She was, undoubtedly, the star of the show, but that doesn’t mean other members of the band didn’t hold their own.
If anything, there were minutes when they stole the show.
There was the moment when the band’s newest member, Akie Bermiss, led a cover of Steely Dan’s “Dirty Work” and the times when guitar and trumpet player Mike “McDuck” Olson’s otherwise calm, stoic demeanor broke — momentarily — when he let himself sway to his trumpet solos. Bridget Kearney kept the rhythm on lock, using a slide on her upright bass during a bass solo between “Bobby Tanqueray” and “Spectacular Failure,” the second of three Bobby Tanqueray-themed songs the band played. And then, of course, there was Mike Calabrese, who evoked The Band’s Levon Helm several times during the show, most notably keeping the groove on drums while singing the second verse on “Seventeen.”
When the band made its way to the third song in the Tanqueray trio, Price, who was clearly feeling herself, took a break to introduce Bobby.
“We see why we liked Bobby, we see why we didn’t like Bobby and now we’re in this great place where we don’t really care about Bobby,” Price said, ripping into “Doesn’t Even Matter Now.”
You could name any number of things that make Lake Street Dive iconic, in a niche sort of way. Their lineup, for one, is far from ordinary — it’s not often you see a band with an upright bass player chart a top 10 album on the Billboard 200 — but what has really captured the hearts and minds of their fans isn’t their wicked hooks or killer instrumentation (the band got its start at the New England Conservatory of Music).
What really draws people in, and did so on Monday night, is their lyrics, which approach love and relationships in a fun, relatable, and, sometimes, envy-inspiring way.
There was the opener, “Neighbor Song,” from the band’s self-titled first album, with the hook, “I can hear my neighbors making love upstairs,” where Price croons, wistfully, about no longer being one of those neighbors. “Good Kisser,” where the singer admonishes an ex-lover (“If you’re gonna tell them everything, tell ‘em I’m a good kisser”) came before the encore, which the band rocked to a finish with “Side Pony.”
And, if you’ve never heard that song, here’s a hint — it’s not about a pony. Not even close.
Lake Street Dive’s Monday night performance was complete with all of the band’s usual lyrical inversions, and, after the crowd got to its feet during the third song (led by a bold woman in the right-hand balcony), the audience members let loose, staying on their feet until the end.
It seemed as though they’d freed themselves up. ￼