Thursday night I saw this triple bill at the 930 Club down in DC. Lucero are one of my current favorite bands, and I’ve seen them several times before at the Black Cat, but this was the first time they’ve played the (bigger) 930 venue. It’s exciting to see them taking the next step up the ladder.

The hit of the evening for me was the first opening act, the blues duo of Cedric Burnside and Lightnin’ Malcolm. (That’s a MySpace link; there’s also a Facebook page.) They play a mean, nasty North Mississippi hill country drone blues, and they lit up the stage. Burnside was pounding his snare so hard it was literally jumping around the stage and Malcolm was doing evil things with his guitar. Here’s a couple YouTube videos of them in action: Stay Here In Your Arms and My Sweetheart. I picked up their latest release, 2 Man Wrecking Crew, at the show, and it’s awesome. Check these guys out, and try to catch them if and when they’re in your area.

I was less impressed with the second act, Amy LaVere. She was slapping an upright bass, backed up with a drummer and a guitarist, doing a servicable rock and blues thing, but I just couldn’t get into it. I think I would have enjoyed what she and her band were doing a lot more if they were the opening act; as it was, the letdown in energy level after the outstanding opening act made it a bit too hard for me to focus on what they had to offer.

Lucero, well, what can I say there. The boys were in fine form, the horn section that they’ve added for this tour fit right in with the show, even on the older songs, and the drunken frat boy contingent wasn’t nearly as obnoxious at this show as they were at the last one at the Black Cat (modulo the one fight that interrupted a song). It doesn’t look like any fan video of this particular show is up on YouTube, although Vimeo has three videos in the process of being uploaded. I know DC Live Tracks was there taping, so hopefully that will be up soon too. (In the meantime, the site has recordings of the last Black Cat show up…)

Lucero’s still in the early days of this tour, they’ve got remaining dates in the upper MidWest, the Pac NorthWest, the SouthWest, and the South proper. They are well well worth their usually sub-$20 ticket price, so check ‘em out when they’re in your area.

Aside: NPR has a live in-studio performance that you can stream for free. If you play that real real loud, get a bunch of friends to crowd around you and spill beer and maybe a little Jamesons on you, it’ll be like being at a show (only, you know, not…) UPDATE The version of Tears Don’t Matter Much that starts around 25:00 in is incredible!

(EDIT I originally had ‘Black Cat’ in the title instead of ‘930 Club’ — doh!)

(EDIT #2 Fixed the NPR link)

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