Thirteen years ago next month, the throwback soul group Lake Street Dive formed in their hometown of Boston, Mass. For the past decade, the band has been on a steady rise that has taken their act nationwide and has earned them a cult fan base, numerous accolades and a laundry list of viral singles. “We formed when I was 18,” explains lead vocalist Rachael Price. “It seems like a lifetime ago, but it also doesn’t feel that long. It’s one of those interesting things because it’s always new and changing.”
Price and her bandmates are currently on a nationwide tour across the United States, including a gig in Solana Beach at the Belly Up on Sunday, March 19 at 8 p.m. It’s all in support of their most recent album Side Pony. Released last year, the album debuted at number one on the Billboard Rock, Alternative, and Folk charts.
However, Lake Street Dive hasn’t always enjoyed mainstream success. “There’s been a few specific moments in our career that have been milestones,” notes Price. In their early days, the band performed at bars and clubs around the nation without much of a following. That all changed when they began posting videos online, one of which went viral.
“We posted a cover of (The Jackson 5’s) ‘I Want You Back’ that took off,” she remembers. “We had planned a tiny little tour, and after that video went viral all of our dates sold out. It felt huge to us to all of the sudden walk into a place full of people who were fans of our music. Before then, we’d perform for people who didn’t know who we were or didn’t know the songs. We had to go in and win the audience over, as opposed to having a crowd who actually knew our records.”
From there, the band experienced an avalanche of success. 2014 album Bad Self Portraits was another success, and the band found friends in high places, from fans like David Letterman and country superstar Miranda Lambert, to even the producer of the popular Netflix series House of Cards, who recruited Price to sing the National Anthem in an early episode. “I played myself,” chuckles Price about her acting debut. “The director’s daughter is a fan. They were at a show and came up afterwards saying they had a part for me. I was like, ‘Yeah, yeah, yeah.’ I later found out it was for a scene in House of Cards and jumped at the chance.”
Now, Lake Street Dive is comfortable where they are, even if it means most of their time is spent on the road. “It’s very busy right now,” says Price, who is still coming down after a recent gig in Brooklyn, New York, where the band is currently based. “It’s all positive stuff, but it’s definitely hard work. I don’t know if it’s messed up or sadistic of me, but I was actually looking forward to my tour routine because I have it perfected now, which is funny because there’s no routine when you’re a touring musician. You do something different every day, but you do that so long that doing something different becomes your routine.”
Price is especially looking forward to Lake Street Dive’s upcoming gig at the Belly Up. “We’ve played the Belly Up and the Observatory in North Park a couple of times,” remembers Price of past stops in San Diego. “I think the Belly Up is as close to perfect as you can get. The setup of the room, the area. It’s about as good as it gets.”
For more information, visit www.lakestreetdive.com and www.bellyup.com.