On brisk February Friday night, a day after Valentine’s Day, me and my valentine ventured down Red River Street. Right on the corner of 10th and Red River sits a small two story building with slick red letter on one side proudly displaying its name “Mohawk”. Arriving thirty minutes before the show started gave me some time to browse the merchant stand and look around at the venue a bit.
This was the second time watching Lucero live, the first time was in Houston, I knew what I was in for but I was excited none the less. Along with Lucero two bands were playing Cartright and J. Charles and the Trainrobbers. We waited to see who would be the opening band and not knowing Cartright and J. Charles were. The bands played on the outdoor stage and with the cold weather and threat of rain, the audience that arrived took shelter under the outdoor balcony.
Cartright is an Austin based band and had once before toured with Lucero. I had never heard any of their songs but when the band came on I was surprised. I though the band was going to sound like a hard country rock band. Cartright has a very indie sound to them, but what set them apart were the vocals. The lead singer has a rough and gravelly voice that doesn’t go with the sound of the band at all but at the very same time it fits it perfectly. After a short set, J. Charlesand the Trainrobbers took the stage. They had a more Texas country influenced sound, like you would find in the Randy Rogers Band or the Bart Crow band. It was a completely different sound from Cartright and Lucero, yet it still was a nice fit to the show. J. Charles has a good sound and great music. The kind of music you would find in honkey tonks or a bar from here to El Paso even with the band originating from Dallas. Both bands were a great fit for the show and had their own uniqueness that helped complement each other.
After an hour or so Lucero was on stage, the crowd was excited and didn’t much mind the cold anymore. The place now packed moved closer to the stage. Last time I saw Lucero was in Houston and Fitzgeralds, and the excitement was the same. The set list varied playing songs for their older albums more than the newer ones. Midway through the show Ben Nichols (Lead singer) grabbed an acoustic guitar and played two new songs that were going to be on their new album. The songs were amazing with more of acoustic feel to them nothing like I’ve heard them play before. They went on with the show playing all the crowd pleaser and a song that was never put out on any album. With the show ending, the crowd wanted more, so Ben came back out for a one song encore. He sang “Fistfull of Tears” a great way to end the night.