The 60s Live On: Lake Street Dive at the VogueLake Street Dive Show Us that 60s Pop Still has a Few Things to Offer at the Vogue.
If you ever find yourself wanting for proof that remixing the sounds of yesteryear is gaining cultural capital, look no further than Lake Street Dive. Of course, nobody is wanting for proof of that, but some do it better than others. Lake Street Dive belongs in that category, handling their remixing better than others, and they proved it at the Vogue.
The members of Lake Street Dive are, perhaps somewhat unsurprisingly given their plundering of the past for their sound, products of music school. Specifically, Boston’s New England Conservatory of Music, which likewise explains their somewhat mannered approach to their music. Of course, mannered tends to rear its ugly head whenever musicians directly borrow from the past for their music. But, as my verdict in the title paragraph shows, mannered doesn’t necessarily mean bad. Or even just mediocre for that matter.
While the music seemed a sure thing, Lake Street Dive still found a way to surprise me. How? Well, I certainly wasn’t expecting them to have their stage show so well thought our and orchestrated. What sets Lake Street Dive apart from quite a few other bands is their ability to give a live performance. Even today many bands, perfectly good bands, are still creatures of the studio who just can’t replicate their album sound on the stage. No so with Lake Street Dive! While they do sound different live the differences in sound are trivial and probably more due to the acoustics of the venue.
Perhaps the most enticing thing about Lake Street Dive’s performance, besides the music of course, was the light show that accompanied it. While it is an old standard, Lake Street Dive so excellently keyed thiers to the performance it set itself apart. The band took the stage in a blaze of white light that lit the Vogue more than I’d ever seen it lit. That got the audience’s attention, the music that rode the light kept it. This was just the most obvious example, there many others as well.
Musically, the band was in tip-top form. Because their music is an elective mixture of genres that existed in the 60s and early 70s, there’s a certain unpredictability to direction of their show. Even in the same song, funk can suddenly transform into melodic soul. Of course, even this great musical base requires a vitalizing element to bring it to life. Fortunately, Lake Street Dive has just such an element. In fact, the lynchpin of their overall performance is singer and frontwoman Rachael Price. Her powerful blue-eyed soul voice soars from the stage, lifting and complimenting the rest of the music as it does. Even so, she never overtakes her bandmates, helping create a sound truly greater than the sum of its parts.
While Lake Street Dive’s entire concept is based on creative reinterpretation of preexisting music, they approach their subject with a freshness and spontaneity that elevates it. Likewise, they are fine live performers and any show they play is worth seeing. The 60s still have something to offer and Lake Street Dive is determined to bring it to us.
Keep listening, everybody.