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Lake Street Dive Pack The Fillmore Charlotte

Did you “free yourself up” for the #CLTsellout show?

By: Stephanie Cunningham

Standing in line at The Fillmore Charlotte Will-Call for my ticket to Lake Street Dive Thursday night, I was surprised at how many people were in line around me. Don’t most people get their tickets in the app nowadays? Even with “sold out” signs plastered all over the Will-Call windows, I guess these hopeful patrons didn’t really believe they would be left out of the show this evening. One after the other I heard them ask to purchase a ticket, only to be denied.

Lake Street Dive, who is touring for their new album Free Yourself Up, is a band with tons of energy, talented musicians and a collection of songs that hit on many musical genres. They are well known in Charlotte, having originally performed at the Neighborhood Theater in the arts district and growing big enough to play and sell out The Fillmore.


I know why patrons were desperately trying to get tickets. Here’s what they missed:

  • Rachael Price (lead singer) – Pricel is an incredibly entertaining front-woman. With a fluffy stuffed white cat on her microphone stand and some nasty dance moves, it was impossible not to be caught up in her energy. On songs such as “Seventeen” and “Red Light Kisses” she shows off her powerful voice and range. When she got out from behind the microphone stand, which I wish had been more often, she got the entire audience screaming with her sensual rocking hips and flirty smile.
  • A smart mix of songs – With four full-length albums and multiple EPs, Lake Street has to choose from a large collection of songs. Price opened the show by saying they would be playing a lot of songs of their new album, Free Yourself Up, and I was worried they’d skip some of their old favorites. They started with two new songs, but then began skipping between the newest album and the older ones and a couple covers for a total of 20 songs. The last three songs of the night (pre-finale) were their hits “Bad Self Portraits,” “Good Kisser,” and “Go Down Smooth” from their newest and second full length albums.
  • Live-only versions – When a band changes the way a song is performed at a concert, it always makes the whole show more special. The audience gets to take part in a performance that may never be heard on cd or streaming services. Lake Street brought out their opener, Mikaela Davis, and her harp to perform two songs. The best was certainly “I Can Change” which is a beautiful ballad anyway, but was given an ethereal sound with the addition of the harp and Davis’ country twang.
  • A showcase of each member – All five members of Lake Street Dive had the opportunity to show off their personalities and musical talents during the set. Towards the end of the show, the band gave drummer Mike Calabrese the entire stage to himself; he performed a drum solo right out of a metal concert with drumstick tricks and a matching light show. Guitarist, Mike Olson, switched gears and performed a funky trumpet solo, while stand up bassist, Bridget Kearney, had the audience cheering because how often do you see a stand up bass solo?
  • Perfect choice of cover songs – Newest member and keys player, Akie Bermiss, also had a solo and it was a cover of Shania Twain’s “You’re Still the One.” Bermiss’ voice was soulful, controlled and full of depth. I was completely mesmerized. What an excellent addition to the band! They couldn’t end the night without their most popular cover, “I Want You Back” by The Jackson 5. Their video for the song, performed on a Boston street corner, is what got them noticed back in 2012 and it was their final song of the night.
  • Awesome merchandise – Along with the regular assortment of vinyl, cds and sweatshirts, Lake Street Dive had their own Free Yourself Up coffee and matching mugs. Yes, coffee. Maybe that’s the trick to all their on-stage energy?

Lake Street Dive has ten shows left in the U.S., many of which are sold out. After their last show in New Orleans on January 25, they head to Germany in April. Pick up a copy of Free Yourself Up on Nonesuch Records or check them out on Spotify and Apple Music.


(icon image by staffer Derek Baker)

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