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Monday, March 2, 2020

This is why Orlando fell in love with country-rock band Lucero in the first place

Posted By on Mon, Mar 2, 2020 at 9:11 AM

click to enlarge Lucero at the Social - MICHAEL LOTHROP
  • Michael Lothrop
  • Lucero at the Social
THIS LITTLE UNDERGROUND
Lucero and Jade Jackson at the Social, Feb. 27

Shit runs deep between Lucero and Orlando, deep enough to earn the Memphis country-rockers honorary citizenship (actually, frontman Ben Nichols did live here for a short while back in the late 2000s). Their path to success ran straight through our city. Of course, now they’re an enduring touchstone in the alternative country canon. But we were with them before nearly everyone else hopped this train.
click to enlarge Lucero at the Social - MICHAEL LOTHROP
  • Michael Lothrop
  • Lucero at the Social
That’s why Lucero’s latest Orlando stop had particular resonance, even more than the already passionate usual. This was no simple return. More than just back in town, they’re back to where they started in sound.
click to enlarge Lucero at the Social - MICHAEL LOTHROP
  • Michael Lothrop
  • Lucero at the Social
In their latest look and work, the band have gone back to their rock core, shedding the horn section that they’d been carrying for nearly a decade. Oh, that grand brass backdrop was luxurious with Memphis soul, all right. But it was never Lucero’s most essential iteration, not to anyone who’s been following them since their early days like Orlando has.
click to enlarge Lucero at the Social - MICHAEL LOTHROP
  • Michael Lothrop
  • Lucero at the Social
click to enlarge Lucero at the Social - MICHAEL LOTHROP
  • Michael Lothrop
  • Lucero at the Social
If you remember those soaked and sweaty marathon sets at the original Will’s Pub location then you know firsthand that, at heart, Lucero are a visceral country-rock band. And this rock format is them in their most natural and vital state. Now that they’ve stripped it back raw, they’re once again cutting close to the bone. This is the band that clenched our hearts.
click to enlarge Lucero at the Social - MICHAEL LOTHROP
  • Michael Lothrop
  • Lucero at the Social
In Orlando, a Lucero show continues to be like a big, packed family reunion. More than just the number of bodies through the door, though, the real phenomenon is the sing-along chorus of souls on fire, still burning hot nearly 20 years on and counting.
click to enlarge Lucero at the Social - MICHAEL LOTHROP
  • Michael Lothrop
  • Lucero at the Social
Yes, the band are tighter and better oiled than ever, wearing their extensive live wisdom well. But from the feel on the floor, they’re back and making their best, most affecting music in over a decade. This is Lucero at their most fundamental and eternal. Welcome home, boys.
click to enlarge Jade Jackson at the Social - MICHAEL LOTHROP
  • Michael Lothrop
  • Jade Jackson at the Social
Opening strong was bright Californian Jade Jackson, the Mike Ness protégé who first shined here on her first national tour back in 2017 opening up for Social Distortion. Despite her celebrity backing and two strong full-length works on Anti Records, this young indie country slinger remains somewhat overlooked. Nevertheless, she’s one of the most complete Americana contenders to emerge in recent years.
click to enlarge Jade Jackson at the Social - MICHAEL LOTHROP
  • Michael Lothrop
  • Jade Jackson at the Social
With wide, clear melodies and a breath of polished muscle, Jackson’s brand of country music is completely free of corn and rides an indie grace that’s really blossoming. The richness and elegance of her songs were given particular flight this performance by the guest playing of Lucero keyboardist – and deeply credentialed player in his own right – Rick Steff on several songs. Mike Ness knows what he’s doing in putting so much weight behind this artist.
click to enlarge Jade Jackson at the Social - MICHAEL LOTHROP
  • Michael Lothrop
  • Jade Jackson at the Social
Follow Bao on Twitter (@baolehuu)
Email Bao: baolehuu@orlandoweekly.com

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