This weekend managed to prove once again that I am getting too old to party like a rock star two nights in a row. The whole thing began Friday night where I set out to, and I quote myself here, “get Lucero drunk”, and I am happy to announce that the mission was a complete success. The trade off of that is that recollection of the show is slightly hazy. A lot of the reviews I read leading up to Lucero’s show here were about the crowd. That frat boy concentration levels were reportedly getting dangerously high, but I didn’t really notice it being a problem here in Tampa. That said, the only complaint about the show would have to have been the crowd, but it was a completely expected complaint. See, as a bands popularity and attending crowds grow, the devotion level of the crowd begins to get diluted. While there was no shortage of people at Czar who where there to be seen rather than to see Lucero, they didn’t hurt the quality of what was happening on the stage, so let’s talk about that…and horns.
The band arrived in town in better spirits, shape, and sanity than I’ve ever seen them. That said, the band has a reputation to uphold here in Florida and as the band took the stage the whiskey river started flowing. The band ran through a nice mix of tracks from the new album (with their newly integrated horns) and songs from the new album, 1372 Overton Park. The first twenty feet off the stage were the usual suspects you’d see at a Lucero show, glasses raised, eyes a little glazed and singing every word as if they were the backup singers. My night ended with a stirring version of “Mom” ’cause my wife (and designated driver) had to be at work quite early the next morning, but I stumbled out of Czar drunkenly slurring about how good the band sounded and promptly passed out in the truck. For the uninitiated, that means the show was a complete success.
I am blessed with the inability to get a hangover. It’s a blessing and a curse, but I woke up Saturday morning no worse for wear and started getting ready for Have Gun Will Travel. The group I was supposed to be going to HGWT with slowly declined as the day wore on since most of my friends are not immune to hangovers, and by the time I needed to leave my group had dwindled to being just me. I worried that the Lucero show the night before was gonna have a similar effect on others, making HGWT’s show a sparsely attended event, but those worries we quickly put aside as the crowd continued to grow while Lauris Vidal and Whiskey Gentry played their sets.
I have to admit I missed all of Lauris Vidal and about half of Whiskey Gentry due to interviewing Whiskey Gentry and Have Gun over at Fuma Bellas (look for those to be posted next week) during the concert. I was very excited to see Whiskey Gentry, having known Lauren (singer) from her previous band, Missy Secret and the Gossip Keepers. Whiskey Gentry was way more uptempo, eschewing the “old time country” sound for a bluegrass element. I was told that they were trying to work out an arrangement with HGWT that would get them down this way more often and take HGWT up to Atlanta on a more regular basis. Hopefully that will work out, ’cause these guys had the vibe and energy that could make them become the new Weary Boys for New World. Anyone who ever came to a Weary show at New World knows what I am talking about.
Up next were the stars of the party, Have Gun Will Travel, and by now the crowd had reached the point where I was nothing short of proud of Tampa. The band noticed it too, managing to comment on how awesome it was multiple times throughout the night. Speaking of awesome, HGWT was nothing short of awesome on that Saturday night, playing every song off their new album, Postcards From The Friendly City (call me crazy but I think they played one twice), and all the crowd’s favorites from their previous album, Casting Shadows Tall As Giants. The band played well into the night and the crowd stuck with them through the whole show. I can honestly say that I was not ready for the show to be over as the band walked off stage, which is a rarity for me since it was two in the morning and I still had a 30 minute drive home. I think that’s honestly the highest compliment I can pay the show, that when it was over I wanted more. They’ll be playing around the area quite a bit in the coming weeks/months in support of the cd. You should make a point to catch them a couple of times, they truly one of Tampa’s treasures.