Photography: Lucero

Lucero at The Blue Light. Photograph by Susan Marinello/New Slang.

Lucero at The Blue Light. Photograph by Susan Marinello/New Slang.

by: Thomas D. Mooney

Two Thursdays ago, American rock band Lucero packed The Blue Light out. Capacity hit before 9:30 as the pre-sale ticket line went down the block. Lead vocalist Ben Nichols and company took the stage around thirty minutes later with people still pouring in and trying to carve out their own spot to take Lucero’s night of sad bastard alternative country ballads and rock and roll barn burners.

Whiskey shots substitute whiskey bottle pulls. The crowd shout out Lucero staples. Nichols holds conversations with individual requesters with laughs, shrugs that mean maybe, and “Well, if I can remember that one.” He does. In a Lucero crowd, no one is a stranger. You mend yourself with those who surround you as you shout lines of “Texas & Tennessee,” “That Much Further West,” and “Nights Like These.”

They go into songs from their upcoming album, All a Man Should Do. The band takes a break. Nichols does a few songs from his solo EP, The Last Pale Light in the West. For as engaged and rowdy as the crowd was–and should be for a Lucero show–Nichols singing over keyboards or just acoustic guitar captures and captivates. He could be singing in front of no one for all he cares. They become white ambient noise as he closes his eyes and sings.

The band, they’re out back on a smoke break. They grab a couple of fresh beers. They wipe the sweat from their brows and have a moment to exhale before jumping back on stage to finish out the show. Two hours of music later and they’re jumping off the stage. Their bus and trailer are parked out front. But they aren’t going back to their bunks. They go out on the back patio for the remainder of the night. They’re still that hard-working band they always were. Earnest Americans. Humble workers. There’s probably not a band who represents their fanbase any better–cut from the same cloth.

Check out the images of the night we captured below. 


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