Re-mixing Nostalgia with Brand New: Lake Street Dive

Cuban Club, Tampa, Florida 11-1-2014
By Anita Stewart for Rock At Night and the G Clef Report

LAKE STREET DIVE and THE CONGRESS at Ybor City’s Cuban Club — Tampa November 1, 2014

Mixing the old with the new seemed to be the unspoken meme on this blustery cold night at the trendy Cuban Club in Ybor City, Tampa. The weather did not hamper enthusiasm or keep people away as there has been huge buzz about Lake Street Dive and their opening band, The Congress. Rolling Stone even added Lake Street Dive to their list of “10 New Artists That You Need to Know” in January of 2014, just three weeks before the launch of their first album, “Bad Self Portraits.”
 The band’s success began while they were jazz students at the prestigious New England Conservatory in Boston, Massachusetts. A couple of years ago they put up a YouTube video of themselves on a street corner performing Michael Jackson’s “I Want You Back.” That video went viral and currently has almost 2 and a half million views. Rachael Price is at the front and center of the band and has the show-stopping vocals that provide the nucleus to the rest of the band and their song-writing abilities; Michael “McDuck” Olson, the one who formed the band and plays piano, trumpet, guitar, Bridget Kearney on the upright bass and Mike Calabrese, drummer and percussionist. 

Now the band is getting recognition, making special appearances on TV and Radio and regularly touring the country. They are planning to go back into the studio in a few months to record another album. Recently they went to visit their old Alma Mater, the New England Conservatory in Boston, Massachusetts and taught a Master Class on Songwriting.
The original songs are crazy good combinations of doo-wop, pop, rock, barbershop harmonies, soul, 60’s, 70’s and even 80’s and 90’s. Shades of all kinds of influences can be heard from Tina Turner and the Beatles to Frankie Valli with the Four Seasons and Aretha Franklin. It is hard to peg a specific genre to what they do. The songs they cover get a special, magical touch of refreshing new harmonies and tempos. There is much more in store from this fabulous quartet!
Mike Olson "Lake Street Dive" joining Jonathan Meadows "The Congress"
Mike Olson “Lake Street Dive” joining Jonathan Meadows “The Congress”
The real surprise of the night was how good The Congress was! From the bass and the sweet soul voice of Jonathan Meadows, the guitar work of Scott Lane, the keyboardist, Chris “Bernie” Speasmaker and Mark Levy on the drums, the sounds are classic but made new again. Original tunes of classic rock and roll and covers that paid tribute to soul and rhythm and blues from the 60’s and 70’s. This band aims to please everyone. Meadows, Lane and Speasmaker all originally hail from Virginia, Levy is from Colorado. Recently they put out “The Loft Tapes,” a collection of covers of soul and pop classics including songs from such greats as Aretha Franklin, Van Morrison, Roberta Flack and more.

Rock at Night got to speak to Scott Lane for a few minutes. He spoke about his band mates, traveling, being on tour with Lake Street Dive, the legalization of marijuana in Colorado and the resulting boon to the economy there. The band will take a rest for about a week back in Colorado after this tour. Then they will pick up another tour with the Hard Working Americans. Don’t miss them!

Anita Stewart
Follow Me