At the Kettlehouse, The Evolution of Lake Street Dive addresses political tensions, social change


Lake Street Dive at the Kettlehouse Amphitheater in Missoula on September 23, 2021 (William Munoz / Missoula Current)

Mike Calabrese of Lake Street Dive did not become a drummer by accident, coming from a musical family who lacked someone to keep the beat; the role has been entrusted to him.

“They say that nature abhors a vacuum, that there were no drummers in the family.

It wasn’t until his uncle Larry gave him his first drum kit that his love for music turned into a passion that eventually led him to form Lake Street Dive, along with fellow members Rachael Price (vocals), Mike “McDuck” Olson (guitar, trumpet), Bridget Kearney (bass) and while studying at the New England Conservatory for music, as well as keyboardist Akie Bermiss who joined the group in 2017.

By mixing a variety of genres including pop, rock, R&B and jazz, Lake Street Dive has become one of the most important alternative rock groups with their most recent album. Obviously, topping the charts at # 1 on Americana / Folk, # 2 on current rock albums and # 2 on current alternative albums, as well as # 5 on Billboard’s top albums chart.

Since releasing their debut album in 2010, the band have worked to release 5 additional studio albums, all of which remain true to their ability to develop a unique sound using

Rachael Price of Lake Street Dive. (William Munoz / Courant Missoula)

Obviously stands out in the group’s discography as it ushers in a new sense of adulthood, with lyrics that reflect the political and social tensions of late 2019 and 2020. The album’s second track, “Hush Money”, is about ‘buy the silence of women, as well as with “Being a Woman”, which describes the harsh reality of life for women in a patriarchal society.

For Calabrese, the album marks a transition as the band members begin to settle down and raise children, while also allowing them to create music that allows them to continually express their opinions and attitudes.

“I feel like the way we write music in any setting or any year, it really revolves around what the writer is going through. When we started the band when we had 18 years old, there were a lot of sarcastic songs about the people we were dating and the breakups, stuff like that, just because it’s your attitude at that age, that develops when you’re older, ”said Calabrese. “You wake up to a time when you are becoming an adult and step into another time in your life and the things you write about are always personal, but part of becoming an adult is realizing that what affects you personally is, in fact. , which affects many people personally.

Calabrese also expressed the group’s sense of responsibility to create songs that speak of social justice due to their large following.

“Especially when we feel like we share these feelings with a lot of people who listen to our music or a lot of people in general, these are the kinds of things that inspire us to write a song in the first place. I think for that. album, it was just the right time, while we were recording we had no idea that a pandemic was going to occur that was going to expose deeper and deeper inequalities and social unrest, but we certainly knew what we were seeing at the time and it seemed like a continuation of that.

However, the group has grown beyond age and attitude. Lake Street Dive has teamed up with Grammy-winning producer Mike Elizondo to expand and diversify their sound even further.

Elizondo, who has both produced and collaborated with Eminem and Dr. Dre, has helped the group develop tracks that more reflect R&B and hip hop influences.

“We were still very much in this more traditional or old-fashioned idea that a song is a song, a song is a composition and can be played by a person accompanying on the guitar and be as clear of a composition. than when you add a full band or a huge production album with strings and a bunch of electronic instruments. We also noticed that in terms of production, producers of a certain genre really hit the nail on the head, at least in terms of what we thought was moving music forward in hip hop and R&B. These tracks of what we were originally inspired by in the first place, everything we listened to that got us into music in the first place was R&B and songs from an era that gradually evolved into this. which you now see as modern R&B and hip hop.

Akie Bermiss with Lake Street Dive. (William Munoz / Courant Missoula)

The Covid-19 pandemic, however, interrupted this process and presented its own set of challenges for songwriters.

“The problem with creativity is that you need the space to do it, both physically and emotionally, at least I do it personally. While Covid gave people a lot of time to be alone and creative, for me i was at home and had kids so it was nice to be home and focus on that. but for the rest of us in general it was a quite uninspiring period because it was so painful to watch what was going on. ”

After nearly a year and a half in deep quarantine, Lake Street Dive is back on tour and performed at the Kettlehouse Amphitheater on Thursday. But the transition from the pandemic has been difficult as the group has adjusted to a normal tour schedule.

The biggest obstacle is that we are so rusty. I tell people it’s like riding a bicycle except it’s been rusty for over a year and a half. You know how to do it, it doesn’t feel as smooth at first and doesn’t sound the best, it’s a bit squeaky. Having said that, I’m going to take a squeaky music set for people who are really hungry to go out and hear music and hear us any day about being stuck at home because of a virus.


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