Preview: Lake Street Dive at The Anthem
Lake Street Dive
“If you’re gonna tell them everything, tell them I’m a good kisser.”
This is the demand Rachael Price makes in the latest track off Lake Street Dive’s album, “Free Yourself Up” which came out earlier this year. You will likely hear this song alongside new and old favorites when the band takes the stage at The Anthem on Friday, November 9. The Anthem recently celebrated its one year anniversary, and if you haven’t been yet, what are you waiting for? If you’ve been missing out, this show will be the place to start.
Rachael Price’s voice is what will hit you first when the music starts, and while it may be tempting to get lost in her soulful, lilting alto, don’t stop there. Each band member is a talented musician in their own right. Formed in 2004 while students at the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston, each band member plays multiple instruments:
Rachael Price: lead vocals, ukulele, guitar
Mike Olsen: trumpet, guitar, organ, electric piano, synthesizer, vocals
Bridget Kearney: stand up bass, electric bass, vocals
Mike Calabrese: drums, organ vocals
The band credits their influences to the likes of The Beatles, The Mamas and The Papas, The Drifters, The Jackson 5 and Fleetwood Mac. All of these influences come together in a sound that is rocking and soulful, drawing heavily on 60s pop rock and soul, but without feeling dated or kitschy. Drummer Mike Calabrese said “We want to sound like The Beatles and Motown had a party together.” This latest album is also thematically influenced by the 1960s. “Free Yourself Up is about empowering yourself, emboldening yourself, no matter what’s going wrong,” Kearney said.
In 2017, Akie Bermiss joined the band on tour and then joined the band in the recording studio for “Free Up Yourself.” You’ll see him Friday night, too. At a recent show, he was brought front and center to cover Shania Twain’s “You’re Still the One.” Will we get a repeat performance here in DC? Let’s hope, because that sounds good.
Fans can likely expect the band to perform one of the other well-known covers. Sing-a-long favorites Jackson 5’s “I Want You Back” and Hall and Oates’ “Rich Girl” will hopefully be part of the set-list.
“I would say my music is soul/R&B, while trying to fit in the Beach Boys and The Beatles somewhere in between.”
Stepping on stage Friday night will be a sort of homecoming for Silver Spring native Jalen N’Gonda. The neo-soul sensation will open the night for Lake Street Dive, but it won’t be long before N’Gonda is headlining DC venues on his own. Performing a well-balanced mix of classic and contemporary rump shaking soul, this set is likely to conjure the spirits of other well-known DC soul singers.
While studying at the Liverpool Institute for the Performing Arts, N’Gonda switched gears from pursuing a career as a professional jazz pianist to embarking on a solo career as a singer, songwriter and performer. He is fast becoming a crowd favorite, both in Europe and here at home. Recent accolades this side of the Atlantic include opening for Martha Reeves (who calls herself a fan) and Lauryn Hill at the Montreal Jazz Festival, performing at the Newport Folk Festival and at Pickathon.
N’Gonda released his first EP this summer and is touring in support of that. His set is likely to include the once-filler-now-fan-favorite “Holler.” Bring your dancing shoes, because this one will have your hips swaying. Get in the door early to welcome this DMV native home and make sure he doesn’t stay away for too long.