A sweet summer night with Lake Street Dive in Missouri

It was a picture perfect summer night in suburbia just outside of St. Louis in Chesterfield, Missouri on August 14th when folk rock band Lake Street Dive continued their way across the country, making a brief stop on their 2022 summer tour at the gorgeous Chesterfield Amphitheater. With barely a cloud in the sky, Lake Street Dive and L.A-based folk/alt rock artist Madison Cunningham welcomed the moon and stars by delighting the massive crowd — that was both diverse in cultural backgrounds as well as in age range — well into the evening. It was wonderful to see such a large crowd of black, white, young, old and everything in between all gathered together for an evening of solid music. 

LSD has done a masterful job lately of being able to use their multi-genre sound and multi-generational spanning aesthetic to infiltrate most listener inner circles, regardless of background and level of experience in this world. The success of the band’s latest album Obviously certainly did its job helping to sell those tickets.

To me, a show put on by Lake Street Dive perfectly represents how music can, and should, be the common denominator to help bring this world together. 

Before the sun sank below the horizon, Los Angeles-stationed singer-songwriter Madison Cunningham and her band of remarkably talented musicians came out to warm up the already sun-soaked crowd. By this time, the amphitheater was roughly 85% full, so Madison’s set ended up being a good barometer for how the rest of the evening was going to go. Butts were out of seats and hands were up in the air, with a good chunk of fans singing along by the second song. People were swaying back and forth as the alt rock chords and notes mimicked the crowd by dancing along the airwaves. You could see it in the way they performed: this band definitely traverses a thin line between vintage west coast ‘kindred spirit’ type of music and more of an alternative attitude with a little bit of that rocker stride to them. They have a confident level of incertitude that gives off a humble vibe that in no way indicates that this is a GRAMMY-nominated artist. With a new album set to be released in early September, that certain uncertainness will hopefully be enough to keep fans coming back for more. 

The headliner for the evening was none other than Boston-born/Brooklyn-based folk rock group Lake Street Dive. Taking the stage a little after 8pm, LSD (great acronym, by the way) kicked off their set with a couple of awesomely funky and lively jams that were definitely meant to keep the crowd moving after Madison got it started — “Know That I Know” and “Hypotheticals”, both off of Obviously. An enjoyable surprise a little later on for those deep into the Austin Powers movies was a cover of “Anyone Who Had a Heart”, a song by one of the International Man of Mystery’s favorite and most cameoed artists, Mr. Burt Bacharach. It was just the first of a few other covers that included The Jackson 5, Shania Twain and the ever-powerful Cranberries. Lead singer Rachael Price’s tremendous vocals do an outstanding job of just filling the space, with truly pleasant sounds matching the strength of those she’s covering. Add in a gorgeous upright bass, a vintage looking and sounding set of keys, a skilled guitarist and tight, on-point drums and you’ve got a recipe for a damn good show. This was my second time seeing this band and I have to admit, they really do not disappoint. It’s worth the experience if you decide to join them on the remaining leg of the tour, which is set to run into mid-October. Also, be sure to check out Lake Street Dive’s latest album Obviously, available everywhere now.

Photography by Thomas Semonco

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