Returning for the second New Year's Eve weekend in a row, Memphis-based Lucero played their special brand of country-blues-punk rock (or the much simpler label "Alt-country" as some prefer) at Brooklyn Bowl this past Friday and Saturday. Similar to last year's pre-New Year's bash (my review here), New York City's most rabid Lucero fans came out to this Examiner's favorite area venue to kick the holiday celebration off early with loud singalongs, bar-room moshing, and drunken beer-cup raising to their favorite songs about heartbreak, fast women and good times.
The 8-piece band (Todd Beene/pedal steel guitar, Scott Thompson & Jim Spake/horns, Brian Venable/guitar, Roy Berry/drums, Ben Nichols/vocals & guitar, John C. Stubblefield/bass, Rick Steff/keyboards) kept it interesting for those who made the double dates, adjusting the setlist from night to night as the band is known to do. A few songs made the cut each show including "All Sewn Up", "Nights Like These", "Tears Don't Matter Much", and "Chain Link Fence." Other tunes only appeared once between the two evenings, for example "A Dangerous Thing", "She's Just That Kinda Girl", "What Else Would You Have Me Be", "The War", "Summer Song", "Here At The Starlite" and "100 Miles On The Other Side of Lonesome", a song which saw Nichols laughingly trip up the lyrics, as he explained that it's still a work-in-progress.
Besides featuring two different opening acts (Nude Beach on Friday, Hollis Brown on Saturday), each night also featured unique, unplanned moments that fans who follow the band have come to look forward to. If you were in attendance Saturday night, you were lucky enough to be included on a phone call to Nichols' Mother in Texas. Just before performing "Mom", a loving tribute by Lucero to the women who raised them, Nichols did a cute impression of his own Mom struggling to answer her cell phone, then decided to actually dial her up to say hello from the stage. Hopefully she appreciated being greeted at 11pm (Texas time) by screaming fans and didn't give her adoring son too much of a verbal thrashing for waking up his young nephew with the late night call.
Lucero will be returning to the East Coast in March, playing the 9:30 Club in Washington DC on March 20th and Philadelphia at the Union Transfer on March 21st. You can find out more information about the band and other upcoming tour dates at their official site.