Sydney Festival Review: Lake Street Dive delivered an unforgettable set at the Spiegeltent

A celebration of the arts, music and culture, Sydney Festival has become a staple for many Sydneysiders through out their Summer. And just as the festival and temperatures continue to peak, I ventured into Hyde Park to check out US natives Lake Street Dive as they took on the Magic Mirrors Spiegeltent.

As Sydney sweltered through a bullshit hot day, I was greeted by the pleasantries of the Magic Mirrors Spiegeltent being air-conditioned. Whomever the genius is that installed air con in the tent, I’ll buy you a beer next Sydney Festival. Absolute scenes.

Limited to a 75 minute set time, Lake Street Dive entered the stage right on 730pm and promptly set about making sure their fans had a bloody good time. Opening with “Godawful Things”, the track was anything but, as frontwoman Rachael Price welcomed the crowd with her glorious vocals and underplayed sass. The band continued into “I Don’t Care About You”, before welcoming the crowd and explaining the title for their recent album and next track “Side Pony”. The first appearance of cowbell was more than welcome here.

The instantly catchy “Hell Yeah” made an appearance and was quickly followed up with the first cover of the night, a sultry and jazzed up version of The Kinks’ “Lola”. You definitely sensed the band (and crowd) were ready to cut loose and enjoy the night. As possibly the youngest person in the audience, it was good to see a heap of the crowd embrace the next track (“Saving All My Sinning”), an ode to the need and want to stop being an adult and have a bit of fun.

As the set entered its middle stages, I noticed one thing: while Gen Y often get branded the ‘iGeneration’, there were just as many Baby Boomers taking selfies and poor quality video as you’d see at any other gig. Which isn’t a bad thing, to be honest. With bass player Bridget Kearney taking the chance to slap it and smash out a solo (which was outstanding), Lake Street Dive moved into the Prince original “When You Were Mine”.


Preluded by a solo from the drumming Pat Cash lookalike Mike Calabrese, the upbeat and completely loveable “Elijah” made an appearance, before the band slowed it down with an acoustic version of “What I’m Doing Here”. With the set nearing its end, the big guns were brought out with their biggest track to date, the fantastic “You Go Down Smooth”. It’s at this point I worked out who the band reminded me of: St.Paul & The Broken Bones. With a sound influenced by jazz, big band, folk and 1960’s Swing and Motown, Lake Street Dive certainly are the real thing.

Closing out the main set with the song about love at the wrong time, “Seventeen”, and current single “Call Off Your Dogs”, the band swiftly exited the stage before being welcomed back to the stage by an adoring crowd. Ending the night on possibly the most covered song of all time, Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody”, the mouth guitar solo from drummer Calabrese was a definite highlight from the night.

Promising to see the crowd very soon, Lake Street Dive exited the night with as much love for the audience as the crowd had for them. Proving there’s still a spot in the music world for this type of band, Lake Street Dive left no stone unturned and delivered Sydney Festival a set that will definitely make the 2017 festival highlights reel.

Lake Street Dive performed at the Magic Mirrors Spiegeltent on 13th January 2017.

Photos: Prudence Upton