It was a little after 10 p.m. Friday as the first fireworks exploded in the clear night air over the Fort Worth Botanic Garden, but sparks had flown long before shells were launched skyward.
Lake Street Dive, a wonderfully eclectic quartet founded a dozen years ago in Boston and lately based in Brooklyn, took to the Concerts in the Garden stage, making its Fort Worth debut.
A bit louder and more rowdy than most Concerts in the Garden acts, Lake Street Dive also functioned as this year’s lone buzz band on the concert series’ calendar, a welcome outlier among tribute acts and established artists.
The foursome is touring behind its breakout third album, Side Pony, released earlier this year, and pulled liberally from the Dave Cobb-produced collection, kicking off with a trio of rip-snorting sides culled from the LP: Godawful Things, I Don’t Care About You and the fizzy title track.
Nailing down the act’s particular sound is an exercise in stacking adjectives in a futile effort to sum it all up — fiery, soulful, sassy, swinging, deft and thrilling immediately spring to mind — and the astonishing lead vocals of Rachael Price, whose style evokes both Bonnie Raitt and Brandi Carlile while truly standing alone, are the hook on the line reeling the gleeful audience in.
(Indeed, four songs into the band’s set Friday, a small knot of people gathered at the merch table, and there was never not a line there for the remainder of the evening — as sure a sign as any that the music onstage is connecting deeply with those assembled.)
Price isn’t alone in inspiring awe — her bandmates Mike Olson, Bridget Kearney and Mike Calabrese join Price in four-part harmonies of crystalline purity that serve as gleaming counterpoint to the freewheeling mixture of pop, rock, jazz, folk, R&B and country percolating beneath every song. (Lake Street Dive can even make the Kinks’ Lola feel fresh — no small task, that.)
The band capped its roughly 80-minute set with the infectious single Call Off Your Dogs, and departed to enthuasistic cheers, before returning to render Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody as the traditional show-ending fireworks detonated behind the stage — a searing exclamation point to a thrilling night of music, and easily one of the best concerts to pass through North Texas so far this year.