Three nights of my boys! Two at the Brooklyn Bowl. And the third opening for The Hold Steady in IHaveNoIdeaWhereThisIs, NJ on New Year’s Eve. There is also the night before NYE in Boston that I seriously considered attending.
As I was leaving I noticed the full moon and thought that was a good omen. Rick Steff (keyboards, accordion) was walking in just as I was.
Considering the cold and how long they have to stand out there, the bouncers at the Brooklyn Bowl are very friendly. As I walked to the Will Call window a woman was leaning into the window giving a long kiss to the attendant. When she left, I walked up to the window and asked if I had to give him a kiss. He got embarrassed and the bouncer said this is the kissing booth. The attendant recovered and asked me if I didn’t think he was cute enough to kiss. I assured him that he was.
Brian Venable (lead guitar) was hanging out at the bar. I finally screwed up my courage and apologized for interrupting his conversation. I told him how much I enjoyed his music and I congratulated him on his marriage. He could not have been more gracious. This is one of the things that I love about Lucero. They truly appreciate their fans. Later in the evening I saw Rick talking with someone and I also shook his hand. After I told him how much I enjoyed his music, he told me his name was Rick and I said, “Yes, I know.” So unassuming.
There were Christmas lights around the horns mic stands, Todd Beene’s pedal steel, and Roy Berry’s drums.
At 9:30pm Nude Beach finally came out. They are a trio, who call themselves punk but owe a lot more to the Gin Blossoms then to anything punk. They believe that they reference The Replacements but I hear more late 1980s power pop. There’s been a lot written about this band from Long Island but I didn’t hear anything that impressed me. I really wanted to like them more both because they’re a NY band and they’re young and passionate. The band is Chuck Betz on vocals and guitar, Jim Shelton on electric bass, and Ryan Naideau on drums. By the way, there are a lot of bands out there calling themselves Nude Beach.
I got a good spot up front and, of course, as soon as the band came out a tall guy stood in front of me but I still managed to get one decent photo without his big head.
For Lucero I stayed up front – off to the side – but up front. Arms were thrown in the air and big heads blocked my view so I actually worked my way to the edge of the stage. There were a few thrown beers but none near me. Ben Nichols (vocals, guitar) swore to the crowd that he would be drunker tomorrow. This night he stayed relatively sober.
One of the funniest moments was when someone threw a t-shirt onstage during “I’ll Just Fall” that landed on Ben’s head. He wore it for the entire song. Brian did his little dance during “Fistful of Tears” and there were Mardi Gras beads and a kiss. “Other Side of Lonesome” was supposed to be on Women & Work but did come out as an extra. On stage Ben was having problems with it and told us that they’re still working on it. Coming back for the encore, “Drink ‘Til We’re Gone” started with Brian solo and then Ben coming in and then the rest of the band.
It was another great night with a great band. I don’t think I can find any more ways to say how much I love them and how they sounded. Members I haven’t mentioned are John C. Stubblefield (electric bass), Jim Spake (sax), and Scott Thompson (trumpet).
Since I was keeping up the tradition of drinking while watching Lucero perform, it’s very possible and probable that some of these songs are incorrect. These are my best guesses since sometimes I write down pieces of the lyrics instead of song titles.
Ben solo with Todd, Rick, and Jim
By Carene Lydia Lopez