If not for The Jackson 5, fusion-pop band Lake Street Dive may not have bent the collective ear of mainstream music listeners -- a grip it continues to hold tightly as they promote their album Side Pony.
Formed in 2004, Lake Street Dive had released three albums before their rendition of the influential Motown group's hit "I Want You Back" caught the attention of the Internet -- reeling in more than three million views on YouTube. The clip, posted in 2012, shows the band performing the song on a sidewalk in their native Boston.
"We agonize over set lists and song order on records because there's got to be some kind of, not necessarily narrative, flow. We make sure every set we have a couple of covers," said trumpeter/guitarist Mike Olson during a May 20 phone interview. "I always considered covers to be a gateway drug of music."
The band performs Wednesday at Musikfest Cafe in Bethlehem. Olson said fans of Side Pony can expect to hear the lion's share of tracks from the album during their performance. Lake Street Dive is rounded out by singer Rachael Price, upright bassist Bridget Kearney and drummer Mike Calabrese.
Since their YouTube exposure, Lake Street Dive has dropped two studio albums, in addition to their 2012 EP Fun Machine. (Side Pony was released in February.) Olson said the quartet plays more than half of Side Pony in concert and have yet to grow tired of performing those songs. Cuts from Lake Street Dive's previous efforts will also be sprinkled in throughout the show, Olson said.
"All we have to do is cherry-pick our favorite songs off those other two records. It's actually a really nice position to be in, to have enough material to get sick of," he said.
The music of Side Pony is reflective of Lake Street Dive's ability to throw funk, soul, blues, rock and '60s pop into a musical blender, the result of which is a sound that separates the band from other modern rock acts dominating the airwaves. Olson said the music stems from a shared love of all forms of popular music.
"Regardless of the specific genre the song fits in, it's coming out of the pop tradition somewhere. All of these things at one time or another were called pop music, so it becomes fair game," Olson said. "A lot of times we see a band going for something that is a traditional band thing, whether it's rock 'n' roll, or country or something traditionally played by bands ... There is not much emphasis on pop music played by a band."
Olson is excited about what the future holds, creatively and musically, for Lake Street Dive. New material is being written for the next album, he said.
"We like to say that we are a pop band because we are a band. And it's very poppy," he said. "We're not going for art here."
Lake Street Dive performs 8 p.m. June 1 at Musikfest Cafe in Bethlehem. Tickets cost $35 and $25. Information: steelstacks.org