Lucero Show Review by Mr. Caulfield

It’s July 18th and I am waking up in a bed that isn’t my own. My head is pounding and my ears are ringing. There is a stale taste of cigarettes on my breath as I cough and I wheeze upon stirring up to go to the bathroom. I can’t see straight. I stumble, still drunk, and look in the mirror to find bloodshot eyes and a trail of vomit. I can’t remember falling, but I do remember how I got there.

July 17th at Bash’s 2 was Lucero with Glossary and Sleepercar. If you have never seen Lucero or don’t have an idea as to how their fans operate, take my Bukowskian morning and you will find similar, if not magnified experiences among their fans. Lucero operate as a band which takes your worst break-ups, heartaches, lonely tendencies and alcoholic aspirations and molds them into a rock and roll songbook. Yet unlike contemporaries Jeff Tweedy or Paul Westerberg; Ben Nichols isn’t married and hasn’t found that slice of the American dream with picket fences and children. Guitarist Brian Venable will tell you that his life back home with two step children and a wife differs greatly from the other members who are still single and still drink like the crowds they play to. This gives Nichols an edge on those who write songs about heartbreak yet seem to have the happiness of that eternal companion. Fans can relate to a guy who tells heart-wrenching tales of losing it all, or just choosing to throw it all away and still goes home alone.

This is why fans drink themselves to a stupor and sing every word. This is why we buy shots and beers and throw cigarettes at them while they play. You barter your vices in order to hear this Tennessean traveler tell you how bad it is and how sweet it can be. Whether it’s “Nights Like These”, recounting not wanting to be with your lover anymore or “Last Night In Town,” an every man’s barroom farewell, you are touched and excited at the same time.

Glossary was quite the surprise as well. From Murfreesboro, Tennessee, they were the positive energy of Lucero’s biting spite. It was almost like jamming together the Hold Steady with Lubbock local hero’s Thrift Store Cowboys. El Paso’s Sleepercar made their second appearance in the Hub City and ones reputation from previous visits can seal your fate. With rumor about Jim Ward’s attitude towards fans and bands and needing a break before the Lucero’s storm hit made me miss most of their set.

Something that sets Lucero apart for me as a music fan is the fact that they stay true to a punk rock roots which they grew from. One of their most popular songs is actually a cover of a Jawbreaker song, “Kiss the Bottle” which seems like Blake Schwarzenbach wrote that song just so it could be covered by Lucero. That and the band’s struggle to expand upon themselves and create more diverse material while not alienating their fans. This is a struggle you see in many bands in the modern punk whose fans are extremely fickle and bias their opinions from music blogs and message boards.

This is shown in their documentary DVD release “Dreaming in America” before the release of their album Nobody’s Darlings that shows Ben, Brian, drummer Roy Berry and bassist John C. Stubblefield make their way across the country and write their record and evolve into the band they want to become and the band their fans crave.

Yet for Lucero, while still dwelling and creating in this inner battle, still comes out unscathed providing an experience which is new every time for the listener. And sometime for the band, who may or may not remember exactly where or when they came through last.

But this is forgivable, as I couldn’t remember all the songs I sang every word to.


1 Comment »

  1. brheath Said:

    Thanks for a great write up and (hopefully) a kickstart to a ktxt blog. I’ve always enjoyed listening to the station during my time at Tech and was hoping for some more web-interaction to keep alumni up-to-date with one of the better things about Tech.

    I remember the first time I went to see Lucero live and the pre-concert drinking binge was just as much a part of the show as the music itself. I don’t think I will ever consume as much whiskey as I did that one night… I wonder if you have ever seen a Ben Nichols acoustic set before and how the dynamic was at one of those.

    Anyways, it seems like Lubbock has a pretty good fall schedule with Thao, Mountain Goats, and Xiu Xiu coming in so I look forward to some more reviews and general thoughts about music from the ktxt crew.

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