Tuesday, January 01, 2013

The Hold Steady; Lucero @ The Wellmont Theatre

The Hold Steady; Lucero 
@ The Wellmont Theatre
Montclair, NJ - December 31, 2012

A night of firsts, most of them great: witnessing a great double bill of two like-minded bands, each representing a wing of their generation in music; finally seeing the Hold Steady on New Year's Eve; being part of the cover of Boys & Girls in America come to life; the show having to briefly stop to make sure a person didn't become the first demise of 2013; making the trek out to this most distant of NYC-area venues (does/did the Starland Ballroom count?);

Besides sharing Steve Selvidge, the Hold Steady and Lucero have a lot more in common than one may think, even though in some ways the bands appear to be passing each other like ships in the night. Lucero has really gotten into horns and keys as they continue to discover the soul side of their Memphis home. The Hold Steady have decided to turn away from keys and accoutrement and just plunge into guitars, calling up just a little bit more of their punk upbringings. At one point the Joe Regulars in the Hold Steady had some cognitive dissonance going on when they had the fantastically bedecked and out of place looking accordionist Franz Nicolay in the band. Cognitive dissonance is the name of the game when looking at Lucero: a couple of guys looking they should be in a southern metal band, one dude in the Irish flat cap, one refined looking lap steel chap; and of course a couple of southern rockers led by Ben Nichols who was definitely sporting a bandana in his back pocket, casting echoes of a certain New Jersey resident living just down the way who also knows a thing or two about finding the sweet spot of soul and rock.

More important than any of that, we have two hard working, long-time traveling ultra-class bar bands who love the music they make and love playing it for their loyal fans. Even if some of the earlier Lucero songs don't immediately indicate it, Lucero share Craig Finn's religion of having "so much joy" in what they are doing up there on the stage.

By all lights, 2012 is being remembered as something less than a perfect year. It would be foolish to think 2013 must turn out better. It might. But either way, with the Hold Steady and Lucero writing songs and anthems for their generation, we have our soundtracks and our escapes to whatever 2013 will bring.


Post a Comment

<< Home