Who Needs Therapy When You Can Go See Lucero At First Avenue?


I have lost count on how many times I’ve seen Lucero live. I’ve driven to Iowa multiple times and even made a trek all the way to Colorado just to see them. They’re one of those bands that means more to me than words can say so bear with me while I try to put all of my feelings and thoughts that I had while watching them last night into words.

Kicking off the night was Denver based Brent Cowles. His sound was upbeat with a southern flare behind it. Although there was an entire band on stage that was clearly talented and very much about the music, Brent stole the spotlight with ease. He had a very calm vibe about him. Although the music was upbeat and could make you move without begging or pleading, there was something about it that was almost calming. His voice was smooth but not smooth to the point of allowing you to space out during their quick opening set. He commanded your attention as soon as you stepped foot into the venue and I found myself completely mesmerized as he chugged along on his guitar. I loved the fact that the music wasn’t completely like Lucero’s. It added something different to the night and, although I knew what I was going to get from Lucero, I was pleasantly surprised by what he added to the night.

The switch on the stage seemed to be ridiculously quick or else I was just beyond excited to see Lucero for the umpteenth time. As soon as the lights went down, a familiar and warm feeling took over me. I stood there with a huge cheesy smile with my brother on one side and a good friend on the other and I prepared for impact. Honestly nothing can ever prepare me for when Lucero takes the stage. There’s something about singer Ben Nichol’s voice that, when heard live, make me feel so many emotions all at once. It’s honestly overwhelming but also a feeling that I constantly crave.

Ben’s voice and sad whiskey drinking song lyrics are what made me fall head over heels for this alt-country band. When I show people their music and proclaim them as my favorite band of all time, people seem a bit surprised and shocked but if you listen to the lyrics and listen to the emotion, it shouldn’t be brain surgery to figure out why they mean so much to me. With songs about heartbreak, drinking alone because that’s all you can think to do, and completely giving up on love (although Ben recently got married and had a child which is kind of funny when you read through his lyrics but also the cutest thing ever). They are songs that you sway to while sipping on a drink while the tears form in your eyes. I warned you that this is going to be rough but me describing all of this doesn’t make any sense to you then you have yet to go to a truly amazing concert from a band that literally saved you from yourself.

Lucero’s set list last night was amazing. It was honestly better than when I saw them play at Red Rocks in Colorado back in August. They had a great mix of new songs from their August release ‘Among the Ghosts’ but also threw in a great selection of older songs and even b-sides that I don’t think I had ever heard them perform before. It didn’t matter what song they were playing, it was hard for me to sing along without the risk of having a complete emotional breakdown. Ben’s raspy yet soothing voice has been the voice that has put me to sleep on the most sleepless nights. The voice that I turn to when I can’t think of where else to go. The feeling of seeing and hearing that voice live is something that just can’t be put into words.

The charm of Ben and the rest of the members of this band is something that keeps me coming back to their shows. I love the way that keyboardist Rick Steff is always smacking on gum in the most obnoxious way possible. Bassist John Stubblefield has a habit of wandering on and off stage for drinks but always seems to grab his bass and get set up just in time for his first note of any given song. Brian Venable, guitarist, tends to almost pace back and forth from his spot on the stage but he has a very powerful stance about him. Drummer Roy Berry always looks like he’s bored out of his freaking mind whenever I see him. Ben has a tendencies to take shots from the audience and forget lyrics of his own songs (which definitely happened last night and had the entire audience laughing). Why am I telling you all of this? When you love a band beyond words, you start catching onto little things that each member does. I may have only met the band in passing here and there at merch tables while picking up t-shirts and hoodies that I clearly don’t need but I still feel this connection to them. They feel like more than friends rather than rockstars that saved my life when it all comes down to it and that is a magical thing.

Who’s the band that gives you goosebumps. What concert has left you completely speechless and with tears running down your cheeks for no apparent reason. What band saved your life?