English texts, Konserter

Concert review: LUCERO @ Audio, Glasgow


ben1The smell of mold fills our nostrils as we enter the dark venue. This place ain’t got no chairs or tables. It’s definitely not somewhere you’ll go to have a glass of wine and a quiet conversation. We who’ve gathered here tonight have got a couple of things in common, though. We like these kinds of places and we’re here to rock! And of course; to drink whiskey! ‘Cause no band suits whiskey like Lucero! And besides, who wants to sit down at a concert anyway?

It starts pleasantly. The opening act, Ducking Punches, turns out to be one man and his guitar. He plays a catchy kind of folk punk that reminds me of Frank Turner, and he masters the stage just fine without a backing band. Thumbs up!

After a short break, a rugged pack of Americans enters the room. It’s Lucero time!

Unsurprisingly, the band and the audience are hitting it off right away. This is the first time I see them, and in advance, I have wondered if they really are as good a live band as they appear to be on their live albums. Obviously, I’m not disappointed. Years and years of intensive touring have turned them into a well-oiled machinery – a soulful well-oiled machinery, that is, ‘cause their performance is far from mechanical. I know what I’m writing here sounds like a cliché, but it’s true. These guys really know each other musically, and man, they can play!

What kind of music they play is a whole other story. Some call it Memphis soul, some call it alternative country, but on the band’s own Facebook page it simply stands “Rock”. Still, at The Gladden House sessions last year, vocalist/guitarist, Ben Nichols, put it well: “We can play loud and fast or slow and sad and everywhere in between”. And that, my friend, is exactly what they’re doing tonight.

Lucero consists of a charming handful of heavily tattooed silver foxes, but there’s something special about Ben Nichols. Maybe it’s because he’s the one who pours his heart out through his deeply personal lyrics, or maybe it’s because he’s got a charisma that drags you helplessly towards him. Either or, Ben is the kind of frontman who looks you straight in the eyes and gives you a big smile while he’s singing. He’s the kind of frontman who – in the middle of the concert – shouts out to a fan he met once, two years ago, that he has downloaded his noisy Black Metal album, and still got it on his phone. In other words, Ben Nichols is the kind of frontman who makes you feel special – even if you’re just another face in the crowd.

He also has the voice of a whiskey drinker. Next to the horn section (which they did not bring with them to Glasgow) and the accordion, Ben’s rusty voice is one of the distinct trademarks of this band. What Lemmy was to Jack Daniel’s, Ben Nichols therefore just might be to… well, whisky in general. At least the W-word appears more than often in his songs, and he drinks and talks about whiskey on this very evening too.

[The review continues under the video]

Tunes like “Went Looking For Warren Zevon’s Los Angeles” and “Young Outlaws” from their new album (All A Man Should Do) are mixed with classics like “Texas and Tennessee” and “Tears Don’t Matter Much”. A crowd who sings along might not sound like a choir of angels, but still, it’s good to hear that people know the lyrics to the new songs as well as the old.

I’m also pleased to hear the beautiful “Union Pacific Line”. Speaking of beautiful (and of slow and sad), the acoustic “The War” is a welcome piece of ear candy as well. I miss “The Other Side of Lonesome”, though, but you can’t have it all.

To sum it up, the boys are doing a great job, and I’ve already told you all about Ben. “Half the girls at the shows want to bone him, and half the guys there want to be him”, is the tagline of the fan site “Dear Ben Nichols”, and I suspect there might be one or two in Glasgow with those kinds of urges too…

I, on the other hand, am here for the music, the band, the atmosphere, the whiskey… and I’m having a blast! If you go to see them, so will you!

Written by: Vigdis Meidell

Glasgow, Scotland, February 5th, 2016

PS! I wasn’t really going to write about this show, but as a journalist I need to «give credit where credit is due», and Lucero is a band to be recommended. That’s why the pics and the video are taken with my cell phone, and not with a proper camera. 😉

lucero newsprint


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