On Saturday at Tiptina’s, the 7-piece synthesis of southern rock, soul, blues, rock, punk, and country from Memphis, Lucero, performed to a sold out crowd. Lucero consists of band members: Roy Berry (drums), Ben Nichols (vocals, guitar), John C. Stubblefield (bass), Brian Venable (guitar), Rick Steff (piano, organ, accordion), and the horn section: Jim Spake (saxophone), Scott Thompson (trumpet). Lucero started in 1998 by founder and bassist, John C. Stubblefield. Tipitina’s was a perfect venue for such an eclectic band with its acoustics and its deep roots in our great city of New Orleans.
The audience was a mixture of late teens all the way to baby boomers, all of whom were jumping, singing along, raising their drinks, and having a ball. Drinks were abundant not only in the packed crowd, but on stage; Lucero is notorious for their drinking as well as energetic, perfectly orchestrated performances. They took the crowd through a journey of their 10 albums.
In their nearly 2 hour performance, they rattled off some of their biggest hits like “On My Way Home,” “Nights Like These,” “Tonight Ain’t Gonna Be Good,” “Sixties and Sevens,” “Take Me Away,” and “Tears Don’t Matter Much,” among many others.
Lead singer Ben Nichols engaged the fans; the New Orleans and Memphis feel exuberated from the crowd and band. With an alligator head on the drum-set, the bassist, John C. Stubblefield with his Defend Team Gleason shirt, clearly enjoyed this city and the crowd.
As the band rambled through Nichols’ ode to his mother entitled “Mom,” a fan was administering shots with a plastic shark toy. Ben Nichols asked for it and took some, and said his mother had one of these then remarked, “It’s impossible to play a sad song in New Orleans.” He then played his ode to his grandfather, “The War.” Lucero wrapped up with some more upbeat, rock thrashers. He thanked New Orleans and how appreciative he was.
After the show, I talked to lead singer Ben Nichols and thanked him for coming. We discussed the setlist and his brother, Jeff Nichols, the director of Shotgun Stories Take Shelter, the critically acclaimed Mud, and the forthcoming Midnight Special. I told him I worked with his brother on Midnight Special and he said, “I am just so damn proud of him.” Ben Nichols asked if we can drink in the street. then he said, “I forgot we’re in this great city New Orleans.”