Lucero brings rowdy alt. country to the Bluebird Theater - Reverb

Live review: Lucero @ the Bluebird Theater

Over the past seven or so years, I’ve seen Lucero live more than I have any other band. The number is easily somewhere in double digits. It’s not a hard feat to accomplish, namely because they tour incessantly.

The last time they made their way through Denver was as recent as mid-October of this year. Even though they played in the Mile High City less than two months ago, the Bluebird was a very tight squeeze on a cold Sunday night, filled with large cans of beer, flannel, beards and a whole lot of fans.

Lucero went on stage uncharacteristically early. There have been past shows where front man Ben Nichols drunkenly argues with the venue manager about how many songs were permitted for the late night encore; this was not one of those nights.

They did, however play a solid two hour set that didn’t feel nearly that long. Their set list focused heavily on material from 2009’s “1372 Overton Park,” the band’s major label debut.

The best and most candid moment of the night came when Nichols nervously played a brand new song he swore he had never played in public before. He stumbled through it with wry smiles and self-deprecating humor, encouraged voraciously by the drunken crowd.

A relatively new addition to Lucero’s presence on stage is a horn section. The saxophonist and trumpet player were a little awkward and out of place; perhaps a little too nicely dressed for the stage. Their sleeves were made out of cotton (not visible tattoos), and they were missing the band’s scraggly facial hair.

The group’s new material also has these extra instruments on their studio versions, and it seems to fit there. However, the band buffed these horns into some of their old hits on Sunday night changing the songs for the worse. I miss the days of four grungy, ragamuffin, drunk guys on stage playing a song that only closely resembled its album version.

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Andrew Brand is a Denver-based writer and a regular contributor to Reverb.

Ryan Cutler is a Denver photographer and new contributor to Reverb.

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