Sunday night may have been a perfect night at Red Butte. The weather was lovely and turned into a crisp late summer chill as the sun set, the sunset was beautiful (thanks, inversion) and there were two safe (and sold-out) acts on the stage who were too polished to seem genuine, despite their considerable talents.
Everything old is new again—even in music. There is no doubt that vintage sounds are making a comeback—for proof look no further than Alabama Shakes, Leon Bridges, Vintage Trouble, etc. Lake Street Dive is no exception. The band, who met at one of the best music schools in the country, are a well-oiled machine. And their crowd, younger and hipper than many Red Butte Shows, ate up every minute of it.
Lead singer Rachel Price’s voice is a powerhouse, there’s no doubt about that. And, she’s beautiful. And she wails. She growls. She carries the band with her vocals—and this is a good band. Her vocals are tremendous, but that Broadway classical training comes through as a bit too perfect.
At no point in the night was her range and perfection more obvious than during the encore, a cover of Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody”—she’s not Freddie Mercury good, no one is—but girlfriend delivered the best cover of the classic that I’ve ever heard.
Speaking of encore: Here’s a first, opening act and singer-of-sad-songs Gregory Alan Isakov played an encore AS THE OPENER. I have never seen such a thing before.
In fairness to Isakov, he’s just come off a headlining tour, and he’s a local favorite in Salt Lake. He had a small but committed group of fans, most of whom sported tattoos and handlebar mustaches, gathered near the stage for his entire set. But still, opening acts don’t do encores. It was cocky and seemed out of place with his humble guy schtick.
In all truthfulness, Isakov shouldn’t be opening for anyone—and certainly not the peppy, upbeat Lake Street Dive. But, the one thing the headliners, Isakov had in common was that they both seemed a little too perfect and comfortable in their roles.