Lucero are no strangers to the Boston area, but it’s been a few years since they played a proper club show of this sort; 2016 saw them headlining the Copenhagen Beer Fest, last years saw them playing on a boat in Boston Harbor. At the tail end of the East Coast run in support of their latest album, Among The Ghosts, the band made a whirlwind return to the city the weekend before last, returning to the legendary Paradise Rock Club for the first time in half a decade. Lucero have played some rather legendarily raucous shows in prior ventures to the greater Boston area, and while the craziest of those days are largely in their collective rear-view mirror, the fact that the band are on a pretty great run right now and that the show took place on a Saturday night resulted in a pretty high-energy affair.
The band kicked things off with the title track from Among The Ghosts, and in rather atypical fashion for Lucero, played largely the same core set they’d been playing on most nights of this particular run (albeit without a visible setlist in the house). What it might have lacked in improvisation, though, the set more than made up for in style and variation. Of course the new album was rightfully best represented throughout, but the band’s self-titled 2001 debut and sophomore album Tennessee, released the following year, combined to make up roughly half of what we’d call the “main set.” The return to prominence of underrated songs like “No Roses No More” and the more recent “I Can’t Stand To Leave You” are particular highlights for yours truly; the latter being an example of a song that, though Nichols wrote it during a different time in his life, has taken on new meaning and in light of more recent events in his life, and perfectly connects some of the grittier musical tones of early Lucero with the family-centered lyrical content so prevalent on Among The Ghosts. And fear not, old-school fans, the night wasn’t exactly formulaic — it’s a Lucero show, after all — as the quintet mixed things up in the latter part of their set, opted to play more music instead of leaving the stage and returning for an “encore,” and caved to audience-led peer pressure by pulling out “Bikeriders” late in the set.
Support on this run came from Brent Cowles and his stellar backing band, the Foxhole Family Band. Sadly, I admittedly wasn’t all-too familiar with the Denver-based singer-songwriter prior to the announcement of his opening role on this tour. Shame on me. Though small in stature, Cowles, the son of a preacher, sings and shreds with the kind of full-bodied soul that would make Sam Cooke look down and smile. Check out Cowles’ work here.
While you’re at it, check out our photo gallery from the evening below. You can find upcoming Lucero tour dates here. Among The Ghosts, as you should be aware, was released August 3rd on Thirty Tigers.