The five piece, Tennessee-bred Southern rock outfit known as Lucero kicked off their set at Stateside around 11:30 on Friday night with a smoky voiced jam session that was more of an elongated sound check than an actual song. As each instrument (two guitars, a bass, a drummer, and an organ) joined in the mix one by one, the floor surrounding the stage became comfortably packed, eventually forcing the sesh to evolve into the night’s first song.
The crowd gathered closer and shouted along as singer and lead guitarist Ben Nichols led them through an evening of lyrics which are, for all intents and purposes, hundreds of years old. But the shtick wasn’t all punk-tinged authenticity and nostalgia. In fact, Lucero’s songs have, for the most part, been done before. (The boys appear to be collectively inspired by girls, booze, and guitars.) And, in the end, their performance was just a little too sloppy and drunken, and the group came off sounding more like any old pop band-and less like the rising stars of Southern rock that they’ve been rumored to be.
That said, by the third song things began to pick up a little. The collective took on an almost Bob Seger (think Ramblin’ Gamblin’ Man era) sound style, and really started putting their organ to use-a truly huge asset to their bass and rhythm section. And although their organ added a much-needed element of authenticity to the tunes, the boys never succeeded in building too much on their genre of choice, instead delivering a moderately entertaining pop show.
Opening for Lucero on Friday was the talented Jessica Lee Mayfield, an 18-year-old singer/songwriter from Kent, Ohio. Sounding a lot like the ’90s post-grungeheads The Cranberries, Mayfield’s best moments on stage occurred when her band took a break and she hit the mike solo with her acoustic guitar. Too young to drink in the 21+ club, Mayfield was undoubtedly the night’s highlight performance, though her band-especially the extremely active bassist/celloist, David Mayfield-came off as overly enthusiastic and forced. During their last song, he did, however, play his bass whilst lying on the ground and, in a feat of true acrobatics, Jessica climbed aboard the thumping cello, all while singing and playing along.