Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Concert Review: Lucero, New Years Eve, Boston

"Why is Aimz going to see Lucero on New Years Eve? Has she lost her mind?" - My Latin friend Isabel referring to the Mexican soap opera/pop music star.

I know people hate New Years Eve, and that it's "amateur night," and blah, blah, blah, but damn I love ringing in the new year by rocking out! For the last four or five years I have spent my New Years Eve in Toronto at the Horseshoe Tavern having The Sadies start my year off by giving me significant hearing damage. But I no longer live in Toronto, and haven't lived in Boston long enough to find a local favorite band. So when I saw that Lucero was playing a New Years Eve gig in Boston at the Paradise Rock Club (within stumbling distance of my home) I jumped to my keyboard and bought tickets off of the Lucero web site pronto!

This was Lucero's first New Years Eve gig outside of Memphis, and they pulled out all of the stops. The band dressed up! Lead singer Ben Nichols wore a coat, button-down shirt, and tie, with a hat. This outfit freaked me out because I have only ever seen Nichols in a white V-neck T-shirt. Bassist John C. Stubblefield was dressed like one of the Blues Brothers, and keyboardist Rick Steff donned a dapper coat. Lead guitarist Brian Venable apparently said, "fuck this" and wore his usual T-shirt with cut off sleeves and a baseball hat. Awesome.

The audience was really great. The show was nearly sold out, yet there was no beer-throwing or an overabundance of moshing that has plagued other Lucero shows that I have attended (see Toronto, October 20, 2009). I don't know if this good behavior was due to extra security at the Paradise, or if Boston fans are more civilized, or if there weren't any kids/students in town due to winter break (or a little of all three). Regardless, this was the first Lucero show that I have been to where I didn't have to take a shower and do laundry to wash all of the flying Coors Light off of me at the end of the night.

Lucero opened the show with "That Much Further West." They brought the horn section! Two dudes: one on trumpet and one switching between tenor and baritone saxophones. "West" was followed by the heart breaker "Nights Like These." And in terms of set list.....that's all I got. Hey! It was New Years and I was busy getting drunk!

I can always say, "I'm sorry I's drunk," so many times 'til it doesn’t mean much.

Last Night in Town.mp3
Buy (mp3): Nobody's Darlings (2005)

The set list was probably very similar to the Dec 30 set in New York. I do remember them doing many songs from their 2009 album 1372 Overton Park, a few new ones from their upcoming release Women & Work, and the requisite Nichols solo mini-set. I also remember that they did not do very many songs, if any, from the 2006 release Rebels, Rogues, and Sworn Brothers, which is my favorite from the Lucero catalog.

Sing Me No Hymns.mp3
Buy: Rebels, Rogues & Sworn Brothers (2006)
I don't think that they played this on New Years, but I don't care. It is a bad-ass song.

The weird part about Lucero shows is that there is so much bro-mance at thees gigs. You would think that with a male to female ratio of about 5 to 1 that a girl could get a midnight kiss. But no! Then again, I did wreak of beer. Shouldn't that be a turn on?

It was really cold in Boston that night, so there was a significant lineup for the coat check at the end of the show. Huge coat check lines are presumably not an issue in Memphis. The cool part about waiting around for my jacket is that the musicians came out and talked to the fans after the show. Despite being drunk as hell I got to chat with Steff and tell him about much his rock piano rules. And I gave a big drunken hug to Nichols of my way out. (How embarrassing am I? WTF is wrong with me?)

I must compliment the staff of the Paradise on throwing a really good New Years party. They provided goofy party hats and horns, plus balloons at midnight, and the bartenders were quick with the drinks. The security dudes were really friendly and professional. It was a great evening.

Lucero's new album Women & Work will be released on March 13. Here's a teaser video from the band.

Track Listing:
1. Downtown (Intro)
2. On My Way Downtown
3. Women & Work
4. It May Be Too Late
5. Juniper
6. Who You Waiting On?
7. I Can't Stand To Leave You
8. When I Was Young
9. Sometimes
10. Like Lightning
11. Go Easy

Lucero Tour Dates:
2/23 - Hot Springs, AR @ Maxine's Pub
2/24 - Fayetteville, AR @ George's Majestic Lounge*
2/25 - Fayetteville, AR @ George's Majestic Lounge
3/01 - Girdwood, AK @ The Sitzmark Bar & Grill / Aleyska
3/02 - Girdwood, AK @ The Sitzmark Bar & Grill / Aleyska
3/03 - Girdwood, AK @ The Sitzmark Bar & Grill / Aleyska
3/09 - Louisville, KY @ Headliners Music Hall^
3/10 - Birmingham, AL @ Zydeco^
3/11 - New Orleans, LA @ Tipitina's Uptown^
3/12 - Houston, TX @ Fitzgerald's Upstairs #
3/14 - Dallas, TX @ Trees^
3/19 - Phoenix, AZ @ The Crescent Ballroom
3/20 - Solana Beach, CA @ The Belly Up Tavern
3/21 - Los Angeles, CA @ Music Box
3/23 - San Francisco, CA @ The Fillmore
3/24 - Portland, OR @ Wonder Ballroom
3/25 - Seattle, WA @ Neumos
3/28 - Salt Lake City, UT @ Urban Lounge**
3/29 - Fort Collins, CO @ Aggie Theater**
3/30 - Denver, CO @ Bluebird Theater**
3/31 - Denver, CO @ Bluebird Theater**
4/01 - Colorado Springs, CO @ The Black Sheep**
4/03 - Rock Island, IL @ Rock Island Brewing Company^
4/04 - Minneapolis, MN @ First Avenue^
4/05 - Madison, WI @ Majestic Theater^
4/06 - Milwaukee, WI @ Turner Hall^
4/07 - Chicago, IL @ Metro^
4/09 - Columbus, OH @ The Bluestone^
4/11 - Cincinnati, OH @ Bogart's^
4/12 - Cleveland Heights, OH @ Grog Shop^
4/13 - Detroit, MI @ Magic Stick^
4/14 - Toronto, ONT @ Lee's Palace^^
4/15 - Montreal, QUE @ Les Foufounes Electriques^^
4/18 - Northampton, MA @ Pearl Street Nightclub^^
4/19 - Boston, MA @ Paradise^^
4/20 - New York, NY @ Webster Hall^^
4/21 - Pawtucket, RI @ The Met Cafe^^
4/22 - Philadelphia, PA @ Abbey Bar Appalachian Brewing Company^^
4/24 - Harrisburg, PA @ Abbey Bar at Appalachian Brewing
4/25 - Washington, D.C. @ 9:30 Club
4/26 - Richmond, VA @ The Hat Factory^^
4/27 - Asheville, NC @ The Orange Peel^^
4/28 - Atlanta, GA @ The Masquerade - Heaven Stage^^

* w/ Adam Faucett and The Tall Grass
# w/ Built To Spill and Dinosaur Feathers
^ w/ William Elliott Whitmore
** w/ Larry and His Flask
^^ w/ J. Roddy Walston & The Business

Bonus! As I was preparing this post Lucero released another teaser video.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

The Weight

I know I rip on Wilco a lot, but this is pretty damn good. Mavis Staples leads Nick Lowe and Wilco in their rendition of The Band's classic "The Weight" backstage at the Civic Opera House in Chicago in December 2011.

Also watch the killer original from the best concert film of all time, 1973's The Last Waltz. A young Mavis Staples wails out the second verse. I love the comment on the youtube page that says, "Rick Danko looks like a little bit like what I imagine 'Crazy Chester' looks like, especially when singing his part." Danko rocks the bad-ass fretless bass.

Feel Bad For 2011

This month for the Feel Bad For You comp we were asked to submit one of our favorite tracks from the last year. So as we give 2011 a swift kick in the ass good-bye, here are some of the best songs of 2011, as contributed by bloggers, tweeters, members of the forum, and other rogues and rapscallions.

1. Powder Mill - Devil In New Orleans
Southern Independent Vol. 2
Submitted By: Adam Sheets
Comments: Of all the exclusives we put on the three volumes of Southern Independent, this is probably my favorite.

2. Robyn Ludwick - New Orleans
Out Of These Blues
Submitted By: Mando Lines
Comments: My favorite track off of one of my favorite records of 2011. Robyn Ludwick is a Robison, as in sister to Charlie and Bruce, but she's got her own take on being a singer-songwriter. As New Orleans demonstrates, her voice is sexy, her lyrics are smart and her songs are real.

3. Mount Moriah - The Reckoning
Mount Moriah
Submitted By: Ryan (Verbow at Altcountrytab)
Comments: One of the more upbeat songs off this album. Sweet vocals, beautiful melody, just makes you feel good all over. If you've ever liked any music described as "alt-country" you need to check this album out. A perfect blend of country and indie rock - go get this one now.

4. Daniel Knox - I Make Enemies.mp3
Buy: Everyman for Himself
Submitted By: April @ Now This Sound Is Brave
Comments: Since I already submitted my favorite song of 2011 to the August FBFY, here's my top runner-up from Couch by Couchwest alumni Daniel Knox. With some help from Akron, Ohio's own Ralph Carney (Tin Huey, Tom Waits, the Black Keys), Knox spins a heartfelt tale of love for humanity. Ah, my cockles, they are warmed.

5. Ghosts I've Met - Out With The Embers
From A Spark
Submitted By: erschen

6. Robyn Ludick - Out Of These Blues
Out Of These Blues
Submitted By: Truersound
Comments: Has been my favorite song for the better part of the year. I love everything about it.

7. Artist: Black Joe Lewis & the Honeybears - You Been Lyin’
Submitted By: BoogieStudio22
Comments: Four of my top ten favorite albums leaned toward R&B and Soul-influenced sound. Black Joe Lewis & the Honeybears captured it beautifully. Great band to see live too!

8. John Paul Keith - You Devil You
The Man That Time Forgot
Submitted By: mikeorren
Comments: Lots of new music this year, but I keep going back to this one. And I'm always a sucker for a Devil song.

9. JEFF the brotherhood - Bummer
We Are The Champions
Submitted By: annieTUFF
Comments: I was able to catch JEFF the brotherhood at the Pilot Light here in Knoxville back in September, and I feel really lucky that I did. It was an amazing show, one that I keep thinking about. (I posted about it on my tumblr...just in case you wanna see pics) It was definitely in my top live shows of 2011, sooooo I decided to pick a song off their 2011 album "We Are The Champions" for this mix.

10. 4 On The Floor - Workin' Man Zombie.mp3
Buy: 4 x 4
Submitted By: toomuchcountry
Comments: Nothing like a little optimism about the working life to begin the new year.

11. The Dead Exs - Shut Up And Love Me
Submitted By: Popa2unes
Comments: I’m trying to make it on 10 dollars a day, I’m working part time and their docking my pay, My baby tells me we got three mouths to feed, I’d stop complaining if she just say to me, Shut up and love me.

12. Lori McKenna - Sweet Disposition
Submitted By: Rockstar_Aimz
Comments: I think that this song may be about me.

13. Zoe Muth & Lost High Rollers - Before the Night is Gone
Starlight Hotel
Submitted By: Simon

14. Childish Gambino - Freaks and Geeks.mp3
From: Freaks and Geeks EP
Submitted By: philnorman
Comments: My favorite records of the year would be folks like Jason Isbell, Chis Thile & Michael Daves, Glossary, and Gillian. But when I looked at my iTunes play counts, a little guilty pleasure was right there at the top. Donald Glover is insanely talented.

15. The Pollies - Ashes of Burned Out Stars.mp3
From: N/A - Live From The Shoals track (rough)
Submitted By: Corey Flegel - This Is American Music
Comments: The Pollies are just another band along with DBT, Jason Isbell, The Civil Wars, Doc Dailey, and Lauderdale that hail from Muscle Shoals, Alabama. No big deal...they will have their proper coming out party in 2012. Be ready...

16. Kelsey Waldon - God-Fearing People
Anybody's Darlin' EP
Submitted By: Trailer

Friday, January 6, 2012

More from 2011

Other albums from 2011 that I really liked (in alphabetical order by artist):

Kasey Anderson and the Honkies - Heart of a Dog
Blackie and the Rodeo Kings - Kings and Queens
The Civil Wars - Barton Hollow
Dawes - Nothing is Wrong
The Decemberists - The King is Dead
Drive-By Truckers - Go-Go Boots
Foo Fighters - Wasting Light
Glossary - Long Live All of Us
Ha Ha Tonka - Death of a Decade
Lauderdale - Moving On
Middle Brother - Middle Brother
Old 97's - Grand Theatre Vol. 2
Tom Russell - Mesabi
Matthew Ryan - I Recall Standing As Though Nothing Could Fall
Tom Waits - Bad as Me

Album cover of the year, Everything the Hard Way by 
John Moreland & The Dust Bowl Souls (also, a pretty good album)

Some of my favorite songs of the year (excluding songs from my Top 10 Favorite Albums):

Ryan Adams - Lucky Now
From: Ashes and Fire

Kasey Anderson and the Honkies - Save it for Later
From: Heart of a Dog

Chris Bathgate - No Silver
From: Salt Year

Blackie and the Rodeo Kings - My Town Has Moved Away (with Pam Tillis).mp3
Buy: Kings & Queens

The Civil Wars - Barton Hollow
From: Barton Hollow

Michael Dean Damron - Clean
From: Plea from a Ghots

Dave Hause - Time Will Tell
From: Resolutions

Dawes - If I Wanted Someone
From: Nothing is Wrong

The Dead Exes - Shut Up and Love Me
From: Resurrection

The Decemberists - Dear Avery
From: The King is Dead

Dolorean - The Unfazed
From: The Unfazed

Drive-By Truckers - The Weakest Man
Buy: Go-Go Boots

Foo Fighters - These Days
From: Wasting Light

Ha Ha Tonka - Usual Suspects
From: Death of a Decade

Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit - Everywhere With Helicopter
From: Sing For Your Meat: A Tribute To Guided By Voices

Lauderdale - The Cost
From: Moving On

Laura Marling - The Beast
From: A Creature I Don't Know

Lori McKenna - Sweet Disposition.mp3
Buy: Lorraine

The Low Anthem - Apothecary Love
From: Smart Flesh

Middle Brother - Daydreaming
From: Middle Brother

Tom Russell - Mesabi.mp3
Buy: Mesabi

Vulture Whale - Land It
From: Vulture Whale

Tom Waits - Kiss Me
From: Bad as Me

Matt Woods - Days of Walking
From: The Matt Woods Manifesto

Wye Oak - Civilian
From: Civilian