Lake Street Dive opened for Grace Potter at Red Rocks last night, and the excellent music was more than sufficient to make up for the cold rain (which, in my shorts and sandals, I was very poorly prepared for). Although Grace Potter was the headliner, I found this concert because I’ve been wanting to see Lake Street Dive, having first heard them on YouTube, covering “I Want You Back” on a Boston sidewalk.
They mostly played songs from their new album, Side Pony, which I was unfamiliar with. My favorite of these songs was the title track, which is about being your own weird self: “Baby I’m just living my life, ‘cause I rock a side pony.” They rocked out more as the set progressed, before pulling back to circle around a single mic at the center of the stage to sing a quieter song. (I don’t remember which song—maybe “Just Ask”?) They also covered “Lola” by The Kinks. I was glad they threw in some old favorites towards the end, especially “You Go Down Smooth.”
Their sound really shines on the more laid back tunes that feature a strong groove. They are experts of the supremely satisfying downbeat—that moment in the chorus that you feel coming a few seconds in advance, as the music leans into it, and arrives like making perfect, square contact with a baseball pitch. Throw in great vocal harmonies, and it’s music that compels me to sing along.
Although Rachel Price’s warm, powerful, alto is clearly the centerpiece of this quartet, all four musicians bring uncommon talent to the group. They all excel on their instruments and contribute backing vocals in tight jazz chords. Bridget Kearney, on bass, plays great fills and often sounds like two bassists.
Despite the cold weather, it was a great evening of beautiful music. It was great to see Lake Street Dive perform live, and I’ll keep my eye out for their return.