Lake Street DiveThe support act Boom Bap Pow is a popular local act. Unfortunately on this occasion, either the individual instruments were turned up too loud or the sound desk operator was to blame for the muddy mix and consequently indecipherable lyrics. I know exceptional sound can be achieved in this open air venue. The catchy Suit song was the only one I recognized. I googled the lyrics after the show but was unable to discover if it was written by one or more of the band. Novac Bull, the lead singer provided the eye candy in her ankle boots and short flared skirt. She has a nice line in strut and wriggle.

Now to Lake Street Dive. Jazz-schooled they have worked together for almost 11 years, and does it show? Why yes indeedy! They are a damn fine band.

The sound mix was superb and each of the members of the band shone like scintillating, sparkling gems. The extraordinary expression, range and vocal length of singer, Rachel Price blew the audience away. The lead guitar and trumpet work of Mike Olsen was exceptional, there was fabulous acoustic bass work from Bridget Kearney and the nifty time keeper Michael Calabrese was a joy to hear. The 3 members of the band also sang, backing Price with exquisite, perfectly synched arrangements.

The advantage of their jazz training was evident in their presentation. Each allowed the others to shine in solo segments in the songs. Mostly the numbers were originals and boasted clever, often witty lyrics as well as marvellous composition. They were a wonderful amalgam of jazz, pop, soul and blues. Some were familiar, largely thanks to the band’s many YouTube clips. The early bracket featured What About Me?, the wonderful Bad Self Portraits and Stop the Crying. I know comparisons are odious but Price’s take on the last put me in mind of Bonnie Raitt at her finest.

Lake Street Dive did not shy away from the occasional cover and the Annie Lennox classic Walking on Broken Glass was amazing. Mike Olsen’s Latin style horn work was a wonderful counter-balance to the song line.

There was a taste of the band’s earlier work with a pared down version of Nobody Knows What I’m Doing Here. Again, really smart wordsmiths at work.

Bobby Tanquerey segued into the Van Halen evergreen Jump, then we were treated to a gorgeously bluesy Just Ask. Seventeen had Calabrese acquitting himself well on vocals with Price. You Go Down Smooth displayed her consummate vocal artistry.

A generous double encore delighted the crowd with the finale being an incredibly good version of the Jackson 5 hit Back in Your Arms. More blistering bass work from Kearney with brilliant ensemble work from all.

Relax, dear reader, I’ve almost run out of superlatives!

Every member of the audience left uplifted and beaming.

This band is so much more than the sum of their parts. They now embark on busy national tour schedule. Tell everyone you love to check the dates –

2015 Perth Festival
Lake Street Drive

Venue: Chevron Festival Gardens, Perth
Date: 3 March 2015
Tickets: $35 – $40

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