For Us, Funhouse Fest’s Main Attraction Is Lake Street Dive

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The 757 is in for a real musical treat on Saturday, June 24 when the soul-swing-pop sounds of Lake Street Dive permeate the air and pull you to your feet at Funhouse Fest in Williamsburg.

With the release of their latest album Side Pony in February, the Boston-born band is again making the rounds to Hampton Roads. Their last visit was in May 2014 at the NorVa. Since then, their popularity has grown exponentially.

They were invited to play at the White House; sold out 42 shows throughout the United States including Boston’s Wang Theatre and New York’s Radio City Music Hall; appeared as musical guests on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert and The Today Show; and were featured on Chris Thile’s hosting debut of A Prairie Home Companion.

And it ain’t no wonder! They bill themselves as a multi-genre band, and they cover all the ground ranging from Motown soul to Hall and Oates to classic swing and original compositions–the perfect party band.

Billboard called their style a combination of “Amy Winehouse, Rita Hayworth and R&B charisma.” Other cLakeritics describe their music as “Sounds Like: Llewyn Davis’s favorite pop group; Motown meets the Brill Building in jazzy, soulful, woulda-been Sixties chart toppers.”

Founded in 2004 in Boston, the initial idea was for the group to create a free country band — as in country music, played free. That concept was soon abandoned in favor of something that “actually sounded good,” according to band member and trumpeter, Mike Olson.

In the early years, they juggled their tours with other commitments. Between their first brief performance in a Des Moines Iowa rock club in 2007 and their May 2011 appearance at The Berkeley Cafe in Raleigh North Carolina, they performed around 100 times in 24 states. In September and October 2011 they traveled to 13 states and played in 22 venues.

Lake Street Dive finally signed with Signature Sounds Recordings and released their eponymous album, Lake Street Dive, in November 2010. Two albums later, they changed labels in 2015 and released Side Pony–a reference o a hairstyle adopted by lead singer Bridget Kearney and slang for “unexpectedly diverting the mind’s attention” or a playful pony.

The band’s classic pop and swing era jazz influences are evident in their original songs and cover choices. Each of the four members contribute a wealth of diverse musical talents in the form of trumpet, ukalele, electric piano, drums, acoustic bass, organ, and guitar. Watching them swap out instruments during the course of their show is one of the great joys of the Lake Street Dive experience.

“We want it to sound like the Beatles and Motown had a party together,” says drummer Mike Calabrese.

With their recent rise in popularity, their performances are influenced by the audience in front of them. “We are translating crowd energy on stage, trying figure out what kind of energy to put out to the crowds. For the first time we feel we can mold the energy of a room.”

You can experience that energy for yourself on the lawn in Williamsburg at Funhouse Fest on June 24. It’s a show you don’t want to miss.

WANT TO GO?

WHO: Lake Street Dive at Funhouse Fest
WHERE: Main Stage, Lawn of the Art Museums at Colonial Williamsburg
WHEN: Saturday, June 24 at 7:15 PM
TICKETS: from $40 to $270
Tickets available at Funhousefest.com.

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