music review

Lake Street Dive feels the love at Sinclair

Rachael Price leads Lake Street Dive during a sold-out homecoming show at The Sinclair. “We never stay away too long,” she told the crowd.
Rachael Price leads Lake Street Dive during a sold-out homecoming show at The Sinclair. “We never stay away too long,” she told the crowd.

CAMBRIDGE — On the day they headlined The Sinclair, to a rapturous crowd that had sold out the venue months in advance, Lake Street Dive came home as full-blown stars. Their new album, “Bad Self Portraits,” had been released earlier in the week and was currently No. 17 on the iTunes charts, bookended by recent releases from Eminem and Katy Perry.

The quartet, which formed when members met at New England Conservatory before uprooting to Brooklyn, had played around here countless times before, at Club Passim a few doors down and at the nearby Lizard Lounge, where they once recorded a live album.

But Friday night was different. After nearly a decade of hard work that almost went unnoticed by the masses, seamlessly blending folk, pop, soul, and blues with their jazz backgrounds, there was an electric sense that Lake Street Dive was finally on the cusp of something big.


“We never stay away too long. This is our hometown,” magnetic singer Rachael Price said early on, before later adding, “We’re feeling the love, Boston, we’re feeling the love.”

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It was easy to see what all the fuss is about. This is a band that runs extremely hot, from Price’s sultry but muscular vocals that suggest she’s Scarlett Johansson by way of Etta James to the intuitive contributions of Bridget Kearney on upright bass, Mike Calabrese on drums, and Mike Olson on guitar and trumpet.

On the first night of their new tour, which brings them back to Boston at Royale on April 6 (that’s already sold out, too), they were finely attuned to one another. When Price simmered on “Just Ask” and “Don’t Make Me Hold Your Hand,” her bandmates knew when to pull back and add vaporous flourishes — a hint of drums, supple bass lines, a clean wash of trumpet. When Price swung into a nimble jazz groove for “You Go Down Smooth” and a cover of George Michael’s “Faith,” they cut loose in glorious unison.

The audience was captivated, alternating between whistles and declarations yelled from the back of the room. “I love you, Rachael!” came the first one, followed by the other members getting their own shout-outs. It turned out the four stars onstage weren’t the only ones feeling the love that night.

James Reed can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @GlobeJamesReed.