Lucero: Bowery Ballroom Night One: 3 November 2014

“Lucero opening for Lucero is a lot of fucking Lucero,” said Ben Nichols (vocals/guitar) during the second/electric set of Lucero’s first night of their By the Seat of Our Pants Tour. Lucero is playing three nights in NYC, three nights in Boston, three in Los Angeles, and three in San Francisco. They play two sets – one acoustic and then an electric set.

violaleeblue and I met at Pala on Allen Street for pizza before the show. If you’re in the area, it’s a delicious place for dinner. Once again, Kenny had scored us a table. Thank you, Kenny.

On our way into the club, I saw Ben, Brian Venable (guitar), and Roy Berry (drums) smoking cigarettes outside. Ben and Brian walked ahead of us inside and then hung out in the bar for a while. I had several opportunities to say something – anything – but I lacked courage (liquid or otherwise) and was too shy to speak.

Ben was obviously nervous and scared during the acoustic set and it was adorable. After all the nights they’ve played, he was acting as if it was one of his first times on stage. The nervousness came through on the Ben’s singing and his fear of deviating from the set list.

Brian had teased us with photos of a mandolin online during rehearsals but he never brought it out during the acoustic set. Rick Steff (keyboards/accordion) wasn’t playing the upright piano we were promised. But both played brilliantly. John C. Stubblefield (bass) wowed on the upright bass with both his bowing and plucking. Roy was incredibly light and powerful on half a kit. It looked like Ben had a new acoustic guitar.

Acoustic set list

Into Your Eyes
That Much Further West
Wandering Star
When You Decided to Leave
Across the River
Hello Sadness
Better Than This
In Lonesome Times
The Last Song
Other Side of Lonesome
Hold Fast
Ain’t So Lonely
Last Night in Town
Hate and Jealousy

During the 20-minute break Ben said he was going to smoke a cigarette. On his way back in several people bought him drinks. He had said earlier that in the old days when they had played the Bowery Ballroom they were much wilder but now they’ve mellowed out. Well, it wasn’t the old days but the whiskey kicked in about halfway into their second set and Ben was forgetting lyrics and hitting himself in the head like the old days. There were long discussions with the crowd as to what to play next and whether a song would be played that night or one of the other nights.

The people in the crowd were the wild ones, though. The electricity went through everyone when they opened their second set. One guy up front offered Ben $100, which Ben put in his pocket for safekeeping. Not sure if that guy ever got his money back. And during “Tears Don’t Matter Much,” John C joined the crowd on the floor, which really excited everyone.

For their electric set, Scott Thompson (trumpet) and Art Edmaiston (saxophone) joined the band on stage. Edmaiston did a lovely little solo during “It Gets the Worst at Night.” Both John C and Ben looked over approvingly when Edmaiston played.

During his solo set with Rick, Ben kept calling out songs for Rick to play on the accordion. One was Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believing” but Rick thought it was Fleetwood Mac’s “Don’t Stop” because Ben has that on his iPod. I love that Ben has Fleetwood Mac on his iPod.

It was a three-hour evening that just flew by. I can’t wait for the next two nights.

Electric set list

Downtown/On My Way Downtown
Kiss the Bottle
Nights Like These
Women & Work
Like Lightning
Texas & Tennessee
Old Sad Songs
Tonight Ain’t Gonna Be Good
Chain Link Fence
Union Pacific Line
It Gets the Worst at Night
Little Silver Heart

Ben solo with Rick

The War


All Sewn Up
Tears Don’t Matter Much
Nobody’s Darlings


Drink ‘Till We’re Gone
Slow Dancing








By Carene Lydia Lopez