Lucero: Brooklyn Bowl 30 December 2011

A highlight of the holiday week would be the pre-New Year’s Eve show at the Brooklyn Bowl, which is a bowling alley, music hall, and restaurant. I got there early so I could secure a place at the bar in the back – I had no intention of being in the middle of the madness. Based on another review I’ve read, Brian Venable (lead guitar) used a flashlight to point out the unruly members of the crowd and actually said, “Stop it,” and, once again, John C. Stubblefield (bass) had to ask the crowd to be careful not to hurt the ladies. So I was very happy to be back in the back. Here’s what it looks like before the crowd shows up.


The bowling lanes are out of frame on the right hand side. Some people are there just for the bowling and I’m thinking it must be weird for the band – they’re in the middle of hipster Brooklyn but it’s as if they’re playing the lounge of the bowling alley in Lanford, Illinois.

As I was walking from the subway to the club I passed Brian on Bedford Avenue on his way somewhere, John was outside the club smoking a cigarette, and Ben Nichols (lead singer/guitar) was walking around with some gorgeous woman. It looked like they were hanging out at a table in the back and I was there early enough to check it out but, you know me. I was too afraid to approach any of them so I just hung out in my spot and watched the room fill up.


John came out to introduce Lionize, singing “on the sixth day of Christmas my true love gave to me, a Lucero show in the Brooklyn Bowling alley.” Both bands were on the Warped Tour and I can see why Lucero likes them although I was not as big a fan.


Chris Brooks (keyboards/vocals), Nate Bergman (guitar/vocals), Mel Randolph (drums), and Henry Upton (bass) play blues/reggae rock with all songs starting with a heavy bass line. There was a drum solo followed by instrumental solos in the third to last song.

The website said the show would start at 8:00pm. Lionize started sometime after 9:00pm and Lucero didn’t come out until almost 10:30pm and played until almost 12:30am.

Lucero. Lucero. Lucero. Each time I write a review I wonder, “What new things can I say about them?” They’ll play as long we’ll have them. Ben thanked us for our Yankee hospitality as drinks were passed up to him. I was too far away to hear a lot of the conversation from the stage but I could still hear some things from Ben – “I always stick with the drinking songs. I mean, they’re all drinking songs.” And also, “Y’all are very talkative this evening.” And from John – “Shake those hips, don’t throw those fists.” Ben played the slow sad songs that he (and I) love so much. We heard some new songs from the album that will be coming out this year. They were joined by a trumpet and sax. And besides Brian’s unmistakable guitar work and John’s remarkable bass behind Ben’s heartfelt vocals there was Roy Berry’s manic yet soft drumming, Todd Beene’s crying pedal steel, and Rick Steff’s beautiful keyboards and accordion.


Set List:

  • That Much Further West
  • On My Way Downtown (new song)
  • Nights Like These
  • Kiss the Bottle (Jawbreakers cover)
  • Slow Dancing
  • Women and Work (new song)
  • Joining the Army
  • Last Night in Town
  • I’ll Just Fall
  • Bikeriders
  • Sixteen
  • Sweet Little Thing
  • Here at the Starlite (this is what I have in my notes but another setlist online has Wandering Star – so now I’m not sure which it was. Obviously I’d had several drinks by this time)
  • (new song – didn’t catch name)
  • Sixes and Sevens
  • Like Lightening (new song)
  • Goodbye Again
  • Ben’s solo set (band remained on stage):

  • Mine Tonight (with Todd)
  • Mom (Rick joining in and saxophonist on clarinet)
  • The War
  • It Gets the Worst at Night
  • Brian filled the pause with guitar

    Entire band:

  • All Sewn Up
  • Tears Don’t Matter Much
  • Encore:

  • Drink ‘Til We’re Gone
  • Chain Link Fence
  • Darken My Door
  • Fistful of Tears
  • By Carene Lydia Lopez