Lucero, The Paradise – Boston, MA 4/16/09 Review

After only seeing Lucero in divier venues (The Middle East, The Living Room, and a dingy boat riding around the Boston Harbor), I was interested to see what they did in a classier venue, like the Paradise. While the sold-out crowd was into it from the get go – singing along and finger pointing – the band started out a little stiff. Whether it was playing some new songs or the newer arrangements to older standards or the apparent complete sobriety, something wasn’t clicking on stage for the first couple songs. The situation turned around quickly, though, and after the audience carried the band out of gate, they were treated to the Lucero performance they were expecting. [I don’t know if there’s ever been a more vanilla opening paragraph, blech. Writing about things dispassionately sucks!]

The band was joined on stage by a slide guitarist and keyboardist (and at one point towards the end, some random bald guy from the audience singing a Replacements cover) adding extra heft to the songs and all told, Lucero played for two and a half hours, which is NUTS. It got sloppy towards the end of the night, which is hard to avoid when 2 of the members are drinking straight from bottles of Jameson, but this was still the most polished performance I’ve seen – Ben only forgetting the words to one song and mixing around the verse order of another – and really, what did you expect?

Lucero, The Paradise – Boston, MA 4/16/09 Review

The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Díaz (2007)

I listened to The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao while riding my bike too and from work and so didn’t notice the extensive use of footnotes by Díaz. Oscar Wao’s greatness is not in the story, but in the fantastic and interesting narrative that featured multiple narrators (confusing to follow at first). There were several sci-fi/fantasy/comic/anime references if that’s your thing.

The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Díaz (2007)

Cory Branan – TT The Bears, Cambridge, MA (10/11/08)

Cory Branan, a singer from Memphis (now living in Austin), sung about in a Lucero song, is a compelling stage presence. Dustying up his voice to better suit the narration of the song and playing the shit out of his acoustic guitar, Branan is a little bit country, a little bit rock n’ roll. There weren’t too many people there, but those who were had a good time.

Cory Branan – TT The Bears, Cambridge, MA (10/11/08)