Tag Archives: Lucero

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Lucero and Titus Andronicus Pack a Potent One-Two Punch Tonight

November 8th, 2013

Despite their deep catalog of recorded material, Lucero have been most known for their raucous live shows since they began playing them in the late ’90s—road warriors leaving it all onstage every night. There’s a good reason for that: On performing live, last year bassist and band founder John C. Stubblefield told The House List that “it makes the moment much more transcendent when everyone in the room is on the same wavelength. We don’t make set lists. And we definitely feed off the crowd. We actually listen to the crowd. They might shout out something we haven’t played in three years. And it’s like, ‘All right, let’s give it a try.’” But don’t let the fact that Lucero (above, doing “Women & Work” for Minnesota Public Radio) are fantastic live dissuade you from checking out their discography. In fact, Lucero’s most recent release, the terrific Women & Work (stream it below), out last year, is filled with evocative lyrics, Ben Nichols’ whiskey-soaked vocals and bits of punk, country and boogie, all laid over Stax-style horns.

Since forming in 2005, indie punkers Titus Andronicus have earned comparisons to Bruce Springsteen, Bright Eyes and the Pixies. Rolling Stone has even gone as far as to say they “may be the most ambitious punk band in America.” Not too shabby, right? Following the release of their second album, the much-praised The Monitor, the group went through some lineup changes. But they returned with an equally acclaimed third LP, Local Business, last year. And it just so happens that Titus Andronicus (below, doing “Still Life with Hot Deuce on Silver Platter” for Pitchfork TV) are also known as fiery performers, so when they play Terminal 5 tonight with Lucero and the punk-inflected Scranton, Pa., four-piece the Menzingers, you’ll know exactly where to be.

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Ring in the New Year with The Bowery Presents

December 31st, 2012

Nights like New Year’s Eve can be overwhelming because of the pressure to have fun—not necessarily on you but on those who don’t go out often but will for big occasions. In other words, it can be amateur night. So instead of paying a cover to go to an annoying, overcrowded bar, do yourself a favor and go to one of our shows. Punch Brothers at The Bowery Ballroom and the Felice Brothers at Mercury Lounge are both sold out. But we’ve still got several great options for you: If you’re looking for a fantastic double bill of rowdy rock, head directly to The Wellmont Theatre to see the Hold Steady (above, doing “Rock Problems” on The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson) and Lucero. Of course, if you’d rather spend the rest of 2012 rocking out in Brooklyn, you can do that with NYC’s They Might Be Giants at Music Hall of Williamsburg. But then you might be looking to cut loose with a different kind of music. At Terminal 5, in addition to doing their own songs, Amanda Palmer and the Grand Theft Orchestra (below, playing “The Killing Type”) will be playing all of Prince’s Purple Rain. And at the Capitol Theatre, the Funky Meters and Dumpstaphunk will have you dancing along to their funky NOLA R&B.

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Four Bands, Three Venues, Two Boroughs, One Night

April 23rd, 2012

J. Roddy Walston and the Business > Lucero > Portugal. The Man > the Greyboy Allstars – Webster Hall > Music Hall of Williamsburg > Brooklyn Bowl – April 20, 2012

Just like farmers do with their crops, I rotate my vices. And so although 4/20 is a smoker’s holiday, since I’d just returned to drinking after some time off, I needed to build up my brown-liquor tolerance in preparation for Jazz Fest, two weeks away. So I grabbed a team of idiots and headed out to see four bands at three venues in two boroughs in one night. J. Roddy Walston and the Business got things started at Webster Hall with “Don’t Break the Needle.” The boisterous crowd, which steadily grew throughout the set, throatily sang along from the get-go. It was hard to believe it was only 7:30 on a Friday, but the Baltimore-based band continued with the pedal to the metal, pumping out bluesy rock and roll for nearly an hour, the perfect way to begin our mission.

Next came the country-punk-rock mashup of headliner Lucero. I’m a big fan of their latest album, Women & Work, so I welcomed the chance to finally hear some of the new songs, like “On My Way Downtown,” “It May Be too Late” and “Juniper,” fleshed out live. Lucero was in fine form and singer Ben Nichols’ gravelly, whiskey-soaked voice was as evocative as ever. Having toured together before, these bands are perfect complements and seem, musically, to be two peas in a pod. It was a great one-two punch of party music. But with Webster Hall making the early changeover to club night, we headed to the L to go to Williamsburg for two more shows.

Since I first saw them at Bonnaroo in 2008, Portugal. The Man has steadily gained in popularity and gone through a number of changes. They rarely have the same look—or even lineup—on consecutive tours. But no matter, because their sound remains unaffected. At Music Hall of Williamsburg, frontman John Gourley was no longer front and center, instead positioned all the way to the left, sort of standing sideways. The band covered a fair amount of the The Satanic Satanist and In the Mountain in the Cloud albums. And again, the crowd loudly sang along, especially on “People Say” and the Beatles covers “Helter Skelter” and “Hey Jude.” While the show was sponsored by Jägermeister, the exploratory jams combined perfectly with my now-Jameson-addled head.

The music progressively grew jammier each stop along the way, which worked out well, as our diminishing communication skills had basically become nothing more than head nods and hand signals by the time we reached Brooklyn Bowl for the Greyboy Allstars. And it was refreshing to know after nearly 20 years, this funk-jazz conglomerate is still laying it down. We arrived for part of the third set, which consisted of a fair amount of Michael Jackson teases (if not whole covers). Altogether it was a night of running into old friends while managing to make some new ones, an unlimited amount of hearty “to Levon!” toasts, plus some good old-fashioned drinking in the street and smoking in a cab. It was the perfect warm-up. New Orleans awaits. —R. Zizmor

Photos courtesy of Sean O’Kane | seanokanephoto.com

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Five Questions with … John C. Stubblefield of Lucero

April 19th, 2012


Lucero has been mining the considerable musical territory between country and punk for 14 years. And after releasing the stellar Women & Work last month, they’re back out on the road, doing what they do best: playing raucous live shows and leaving it all onstage every night. The band (above, doing “Like Lightning” at Brooklyn Bowl) plays Webster Hall tomorrow night with the similarly high-energy J. Roddy Walston and the Business. And from the bus on the way to Northampton, Mass., bassist and band founder John C. Stubblefield rang up The House List to answer Five Questions.

Even with a deep catalog of studio albums, Lucero’s long been known for live shows. Is there something to that?
Absolutely. You’re right there in everyone’s face and everyone in the crowd is as important as everyone onstage. When you’re recording you kind of consider the audience. But it makes the moment much more transcendent when everyone in the room is on the same wavelength. We don’t make set lists. And we definitely feed off the crowd. We actually listen to the crowd. They might shout out something we haven’t played in three years. And it’s like, “All right, let’s give it a try.”

Have you found yourself drawn to any new bands, either through touring or just hearing their music?
J. Roddy Walston and the Business for sure. William Elliott Whitmore. A great band that we played with from Alabama, Lee Bains III & the Glory Fires. When they were in the midst of recording, Lee sent me some tracks and I gave him some feedback.

Where do you like to hang out in New York City? And do you ever feel like you could live here?
It’s a place I like to visit. Lucero’s been a band for 14 years and I’ve been on the road for 18. But it definitely be a place I’d have to take in smaller doses.

Do you have any crutches when writing a song—are there certain words or styles you feel you lean on too much?
It’s pretty different every time, especially with this new record. It was a collaborative effort. On each song we used different styles. We didn’t get bogged down at all. And each song holds its own.

At your after-party and there’s an endless jukebox, and The House List gives you a buck. Which three songs are you playing?
Firehose, “Brave Captain.” ZZ Top, “Beer Drinkers & Hell Raisers.” And R.L. Burnside, “Shake ’Em On Down.” —R. Zizmor

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A Folk Music Revival

April 2nd, 2012

The Revival Tour – The Bowery Ballroom – March 30, 2012

(Photo: Kirsten Housel)

On Friday night, the Revival Tour graced The Bowery Ballroom with two packed shows (early and late) featuring an amazing lineup of NYC locals Kayleigh Goldsworthy and Jenny Owen Youngs, Dave Hause of the Loved Ones, frequent Lucero collaborator Cory Branan, Tommy Gabel of Against Me!, Dan Andriano of Alkaline Trio and In the Emergency Room, and Hot Water Music’s Chuck Ragan—also known as a solo artist and founder of the tour. (Additionally Jon Gaunt and Joe Ginsberg, on fiddle and upright bass, respectively, anchored the lineup.)

In keeping with the ideals of the tour, which was conceptualized from folk music’s openness and sense of camaraderie and years of on-the-road experience that often lead tourmates to collaborate at some point, each show began with all of the musicians playing together and then diverged into a loose hierarchical lineup that better allowed each singer’s voice and style to show. Although both Goldsworthy and Youngs have notable followings of their own, Goldsworthy’s performance of her song “Tennessee” was most memorable from the female voices. Considering that she’s cute as a button in a refined rock and roll way, I’m sure she won over many new fans on Friday.

Hause and Andriano have two of my favorite voices in punk rock and are great songwriters in their own right. However, on this night, I believe their talents were placed in a shadow by the sheer personas that are Branan (Southern and drunken), Gabel (upbeat and anarchistic) and Ragan (bearded and gruff). Andriano’s rendition of Alkaline Trio’s “Radio” (performed with Ragan) became a loud crowd sing-along, but the rest of the audience’s energy seemed spent on the latter three performers. Ragan’s performance of the slower-paced “Rotterdam,” a love song for his hard-working and often-missed wife, wonderfully capped his portion of the night. At 3 a.m., the late show ended as it had begun, with a packed stage and laudable musical camaraderie. —Kirsten Housel

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Lucero – The Beach at Governors Island – July 10, 2010

July 12th, 2010

Lucero - The Beach at Governors Island - July 10, 2010

Photos courtesy of Sean O’Kane | seanokanephoto.com

Sometimes You Get a Little Wet

July 10th, 2010

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Tonight’s Lucero show (with J. Roddy Walston and the Business and Johnny Corndawg) at The Beach at Governors Island is rain or shine. In the event of an electrical storm or high winds, management will work with local authorities to protect the health and safety of both the artists and audience. In the event of lightning, this may include short delays of the performance. Just letting you know. Knowledge is power.

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Lucero Hits The Beach at Governors Island (Plus a Free MP3)

July 9th, 2010


Lucero, out of Memphis, has been expertly combining country with punk and rock since 1998. They’re as much known for their red-hot live shows as for frontman Ben Nichols’ raspy, evocative growl. And the best news is, as part of the Gone to Governors series, Lucero (above, playing “I Can Get Us Out of Here Tonight” for Fuel TV) is playing for FREE tomorrow night at The Beach at Governors Island.

And as an added bonus, Converse, the Gone to Governors sponsor, is offering you a free MP3 download of “All Summer,” featuring Kid Cudi, Rostam, of Vampire Weekend, and Best Coast’s Bethany Cosentino, here.

Governors Island Ferry Information Update

We encourage everyone to come early and enjoy The Beach. If you are on the island before the show tomorrow, get to The Beach venue by 5:30 p.m., as concert wristbands will be distributed earlier. Governors Island ferries will run from the Battery Maritime Building until 5:30 p.m. There will be no boats to the concert departing from the Battery Maritime Building after 5:30 p.m. Dedicated concert ferries will depart after 5:30 p.m. from Pier 11, located at the corner of South Street and Wall Street in lower Manhattan. Wristbands will be distributed at the ferry departure point on a first-come, first-served basis, starting at 5:30 p.m.

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A Rowdy Night at Music Hall

March 31st, 2010

Lucero – Music Hall of Williamsburg – March 30, 2010

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Perhaps the best thing about going to a Lucero show is knowing exactly what you’re going to get—a rambunctious set of everyman tunes that makes you want to throw your arm around your best buddy and buy another round. Last night’s Music Hall of Williamsburg show was no different. The Memphis-based, whiskey-logged Southern soul-punkers played a set in support of their current release, last year’s 1372 Overton Park, an album that impressively adds horns to the band’s trademark sound. Played live, songs like album-opener “Smoke” and “What Are You Willing to Lose?” and “The Devil and Maggie Chascarillo” all benefited from the brass section, making them much more rock and less country, leading to lots of dancing in the crowd. However, it was singer Ben Nichols’ voice that provided some of the best moments, as was the case when Lucero played album-closer “Mom” (a heartfelt reassurance that though they may mistakes, they were raised right) and the always highly anticipated cover of Jawbreaker’s “Kiss the Bottle.” —Kirsten Housel

Photos courtesy of Kirsten Housel

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See Lucero Next Tuesday at Music Hall of Williamsburg

March 26th, 2010


The Memphis rock quintet Lucero’s sound converges at the badass intersection of country, punk and rock. They’ve been putting out quality music since 2000, and their sixth studio album, 1372 Overton Park, was released last October. Led by singer-guitarist Ben Nichols’ gravely, Jameson-soaked voice, Lucero is a tour de force live band—playing close to 200 shows a year—that shouldn’t be missed. So don’t. Come see Lucero (above, performing “Johnny Davis” on Fuel TV) next Tuesday at Music Hall of Williamsburg. Get yourself some brown liquor, say hello to Eddie Bruiser and see if you recognize Nichols from MTV.com’s $5 Cover.

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See Lucero at Webster Hall This Saturday

October 13th, 2009


Like a bastardized version of a Donny and Marie song, Lucero is a little bit country and a little bit punk. Led by charismatic singer-guitarist Ben Nichols, the band has been putting out albums since their debut, The Attic Tapes, was released in 2000. Their eighth album, 1372 Overton Park, came out last week. (You can stream it here.) And to celebrate, these road warriors are touring the country again. They bring their gritty, roots-y music to Webster Hall this Saturday—and they’ll have horns with them, so you know it’s gonna be good.

(See Lucero, above, playing “I Can Get Us Out of Here Tonight” on Fuel TV.)

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Lucero – Music Hall of Williamsburg – April 18, 2009

April 20th, 2009
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(Photo: Wes Frazer)

After seeing so many bands in skinny ties or skinny jeans, it was a relief to see a group of dudes from Memphis with tattoos, beards, hats and T-shirts ripping it up onstage at Music Hall of Williamsburg just ’cause it was Saturday night. Lucero’s sound is a mash-up of a rootsy country twang, dueling rock guitars and straight-up punk, kind of like Southern rock on three-quarters speed. (To be clear: not at three-quarters speed, but on three-quarters speed.)

The audience was loud and rowdy from the beginning. Whether it was enthusiastically singing along, crowd surfing (“That doesn’t look comfortable,” remarked Ben Nichols, guitarist and lead singer), hooting and hollering, fist bumping, fist pumping, man hugging or beer tossing (and not always empties), the audience was a force itself. Lucero, fortunately, was also a force. With two guitars (including a Gibson Flying V!), a pedal steel, a bass, drums and keys, the band easily filled the room with their big sound, often jamming together rather than taking extended solos. Occasionally, like on Nichols’ solo material he’d “accidentally released,” the band employed a sparer—though no less lively—sound with just three musicians onstage.

Nichols, the ever-chatty frontman, should star in his very own reality show. He has an endearing stage presence, especially while drinking straight from a bottle of Jameson (“God, that tastes good!”) and while continually thanking the crowd for indulging him in songs from his own album. After one of those songs, he even added: “I was almost too drunk to sing that one.” And by the end of the toe-tapping, hip-shaking, head-nodding show, it was hard for everyone else to not feel too drunk, too. —R. Zizmor