Concert Review: Lucero at Lee’s Palace, October 20, Toronto
There has been a lot of hoopla among Lucero fans such as myself over the new album 1372 Overton Park about Lucero’s use of horns on much of the album. My first impression was that lead singer/songwriter Ben Nichols has been spending way too much time with Craig Finn and The Hold Steady, but after several listens the album has really grown on me and I would say its just about as good as anything that Lucero has done. It sounded even better at Lee’s Palace in Toronto on Tuesday, October 20.
I was standing to the left of the stage, mostly out of the range of the asshole 19-year-olds who somewhere along the line decided that Lucero was a mosh band. Not that I didn’t have to go home and shower and do laundry to clean all of the sprayed beer off of me. Seriously dudes, its a waste of alcohol. I mean, I know you saved your allowance for months to piss it away on spraying beer and everything, but you are angering people and keeping real fans away from the show. This only hurts the band in the long run. Hell, at one point Nichols even said, “Dudes, this ain’t the Warped Tour.” Here’s a song for you punks, “Coax Me” by Sloan. Note the lyrics: “Its not the band I hate, its their fans.” Now go to a Fucked Up show.
But ANYWAY, Lucero sounded fan-fucking-tastic. From where I was standing, the two saxes were slightly more muted than on the record, and, to me, it sounded like how 1372 Overton Park should have been mixed. The “horn section” was actually two dudes who switched between baritone, tenor, and alto saxophones.
And how bad-ass is bassist John C. Stubblefield, aka “John C.” The dude was wearing a Merle Haggard T-shirt with the sleeves cut off. He was doing crowd safety when the shit-head punks got out of control. He handed out shots of whiskey to the purdy ladies in the crowd (apparently I’m ugly). And he lit up cigarettes in the smoke-free venue. The only other person I’ve seen do that is Mike Cooley of the Drive-By Truckers.
Speaking of the DBT, this was another one of those shows where the dudes in the audience seriously outnumbered the chicks. During “Goodbye Again” there was some serious bro-mance going on. And damn, I thought some of them were going to start making out with each other during Nichols solo section, not that there is anything wrong with that. When taking requests Nichols mentioned that he was “partial to the slow, sad shit.” And damn didn’t he nail them. “Mom” from the new album was especially amazing.
Lucero played for two full hours. Nichols maybe took a 30 second break before bringing the band back out for an encore. Including the two opening acts, I saw over three and a half hours of music. I certainly got my $20 worth of entertainment. And at least $20 worth of beer sprayed on me.
(full band with saxes)
1. Sounds of the City – 1372 Overton Park (2009)
2. That Much Further West – That Much Further West (2004)
3. Can’t Feel a Thing – 1372 Overton Park
4. The Devil and Maggie Chascarillo – 1372 Overton Park
5. Nights Like These – Tennessee (2002)
6. What Else Would You Have Me Be? – Rebels, Rogues, and Sworn Brothers (2006)
7. Joining the Army – That Much Further West
8. Last Night in Town – Nobody’s Darlings (2004)
9. Sixes and Sevens – 1372 Overton Park
10. Goodbye Again – 1372 Overton Park
11. Kiss the Bottle – The Attic Tapes (Jawbreaker cover, 2006)
12. I’ll Just Fall – Tennessee
13. Chain Link Fence – Tennessee
14. Slow Dancing – Tennessee
15. Sixteen – Nobody’s Darlings
16. Hey Darlin’ Do You Gamble – 1372 Overton Park
17. Wandering Star – Lucero (2001)
18. Johnny Davis – 1372 Overton Park
(Ben Nichols on guitar, plus dudes on pedal steel and keyboards)
19. The Last Pale Light in the West – The Last Pale Light in the West (Nichol’s solo, 2009)
20. Mom – 1372 Overton Park
21. The War – Nobody’s Darlings
(full band with saxes)
22. Smoke – 1372 Overton Park
23. Darken My Door – 1372 Overton Park
24. I Can Get Us Out of Here – Rebels, Rogues, and Sworn Brothers
25. Nobody’s Darlings – Nobody’s Darlings
26. Tears Don’t Matter Much – That Much Further West
27. Other Side of Lonesome – recorded for 1372 Overton Park but not included
28. All Sewn Up – Lucero
29. Fist Full of Tears – Tennessee
Cedric Burnside and Lightnin’ Malcolm opened the show with a forty minute set of blues rock. I was highly entertained by these two fellows, and wow, can they make a lot of music for just two dudes. Burnside wailed on the drums while Malcolm cranked on the guitar. So good! Check these two out if you like hard rockin’ blues.
Amy LaVere followed with a set of upright bass blues rock. While she didn’t have the energy or the stage presence of Burnside and Malcolm (her drummer looked completely bored), she still put on a decent set. I actually liked their sound more when her guitarist sang lead.