A Love Letter to Lake Street Dive

The year was 2014. I had come across a band name I thought said “Lake Shore Drive.” Being the Chicagoan that I am, I immediately thought this must be some new Chicago-based band.

A Google search revealed the name to in fact be “Lake Street Dive,” but I figured I’d have a listen nonetheless. Boy, am I glad I did.

Two years and five concerts later, I am a self-described Lake Street Dive super fan. While four of the shows took place in Chicago, I also had the pleasure of seeing them open for Dave Matthews Band at the Gorge in George, Washington. (More on that later).

While I’ve read that many people came to know Lake Street Dive because of their incredible covers of “I Want You Back” and “Rich Girl,” I was immediately drawn to their original material. Give me “Stop Your Crying,” “Rabid Animal,” and “Bad Self Portraits” any day of the week. “Neighbor Song” does not get played enough live!

I was really itching for some new music by the time “Side Pony” was released and yes, I did pre-order a digital copy complete with a signed poster and old-school record.

I can count on one hand the number of albums in which I liked every single song all the way through. “Side Pony” quickly became one of them.

One of the best things about discovering a band early is the opportunity to see them at small venues with general admission only seating. Early arrival and some swift maneuvering are all that is needed for a spot pretty close to the stage.

With Lake Street Dive, you really can be anywhere in the venue and have a great time, though. Rachael’s voice is never anything less than sensational. Bridget can rock a side pony like no one’s business. “McDuck” is always in the zone. And I have yet to see Mike wearing shoes.

This past year, I was lucky enough to catch Lake Street Dive in March at the Vic, less than a month after the release of their latest album, “Side Pony,” and then caught them again at the Gorge in September, and later in the month, at their biggest Windy City concert venue yet, the Chicago Theatre.

So, this love letter has been long overdue. Thank you, Lake Street Dive, for keeping my Spotify playlist chock-full of music that helps get me through each workday (as well as my first-ever marathon). And thank you for being an incredible live act, and one I have gladly recommended to anyone who will listen.

I look forward to many more concerts and wish you all the continued success you rightly deserve. And if I could make just one request – what do you think about a Christmas album?!

Lake Street Dive – Thalia Hall, 9/25/14

Fortunately, the picture quality has only increased with each concert. Fun fact about my first Lake Street Dive show: I went to this with a stranger. A friend had bailed the morning of, so I took to Twitter to try and find someone to buy the extra ticket. With the help of a retweet from Lake Street Dive’s account, a kind stranger offered to take it off my hands, and we actually enjoyed the show together, making the concert extra memorable.

Lake Street Dive – Thalia Hall, 5/31/15

This time around, the friend did not bail and we got a spot pretty close to the stage. And just like the first time, I was blown away at how great Lake Street Dive is live.

 

Lake Street Dive – Vic Theatre, 3/11/16

For the first non-Thalia Hall show, I recruited two friends who had gotten on board with Lake Street Dive about a year earlier, and we patiently waited for the crew to come to town again. This March show was shortly after the release of “Side Pony,” so we not only got to hear old favorites, but a great selection of new tracks as well.

 

Lake Street Dive (Opening Act for Dave Matthews Band) – Gorge Amphitheatre, 9/4/16

I had always wanted to attend a concert at the Gorge. Dave Matthews Band is one of my favorite bands so I always figured I’d see a DMB show there. But the moment I saw that Lake Street Dive would be the opening act for the annual Labor Day weekend tour finale, I knew it was the year to go. The show was everything I hoped it would be – perfect venue, beautiful backdrop, and two of my all-time favorites under one sky. Dave Matthews himself even introduced the band and noted that he’d been following them for a while. Amazing.

 

Lake Street Dive – Chicago Theatre, 9/23/16

For my fifth Lake Street Dive show, the crew graduated to the Chicago Theatre, which could have been tricky with general admission no longer being an option. But I fortunately got wind of a presale, and was able to lock down third row seats! Somehow each show is better than the last, and this one was no exception. See them live. You won’t regret it.

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