After Years Of Performing, Lake Street Dive Reaps Sold-Out Shows

Jul 7, 2014
Originally published on July 7, 2014 1:14 pm

The members of the band Lake Street Dive have been making music together for nearly 10 years — but only recently have experienced commercial success. For many years, they toured and sometimes played shows without any audience members.

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The other day we stepped into a music hall in Washington, D.C. The 9:30 Club was dim and empty on a weekday afternoon. The four members of Lake Street Dive were on stage for the sound check.


LAKE STREET DIVE: (Singing) Say what about me, say what about me. Well, look at all...

INSKEEP: We're hearing Lake Street Dive throughout this morning. After years of work, the group's jazzy takes on pop tunes have caught on - first on the web, then beyond. They turned up this year on TV with David Letterman and Stephen Colbert. And when we met, they were preparing for a sold-out show.


LAKE STREET DIVE: (Singing) I'm taking bad self-portraits of a lonely woman.

INSKEEP: It was not always hard to get a ticket to see Lake Street Dive. Bridget Kearney, who's the upright bass player, recalls a performance in their earlier days.

BRIDGET KEARNEY: No one showed up for the show. It was us and another band that had came all the way from California to North Carolina.

INSKEEP: By no one do you mean...

KEARNEY: Absolutely no one. There was not one person in attendance. And it was one of the best shows we ever played, like, we played a full set for these three other people that we had just met and they were a great audience. And then we watched their whole set. And they played for an hour and a half...

INSKEEP: I was going to say, then you have to stick around and watch them.

KEARNEY: They were amazing and we're good friends with them to this day.


UNIDENTIFIED MAN: I mean, people literally came in the door and turned around and walked away. I mean (laughing) yet it was still a great show.

RACHAEL PRICE: We had a great time.

INSKEEP: Today the crowds are different. For starters, there are crowds.


LAKE STREET DIVE: (Singing) How will I ever find you in the darkness with no light? How will I find you? How will I find you?

INSKEEP: The lead singer is Rachael Price.

PRICE: Every show feels a little bit different because, like, we've never played to crowds this size. We've never played to crowds where people are singing along every night. There's just a completely different energy that we're sort of getting and therefore, like, we're sort of translating that on stage and trying to figure out what kind of energy to put out to the crowds. It's the first time we felt we can mold the energy of a room, you know, and do what we want. We're not tried to get everyone's attention.


LAKE STREET DIVE: (Singing) Another night wasted in my parents' basement.

INSKEEP: Lake Street Dive. We're listening to their music throughout today's program.


LAKE STREET DIVE: (Singing) I don't know why I didn't chase it when I was right on his tail.

INSKEEP: And that program is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep.


And I'm Renee Montagne.


LAKE STREET DIVE: (Singing)You got me running like a rabid animal with no fight. How will I ever find you in the darkness with no light? Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.