Concert Review: Drive-By Truckers / Lucero in Omaha 9/16/14

Drive-By Truckers and Lucero live at The Slowdown in Omaha, Nebraska on 9/16/14.

A heavyweight bill was a can’t miss. With two of the most consistant bands that you will see take the stage pairing together there was no doubt that the Slowdown in Omaha was the place to be for the Drive-By Truckers and Lucero. Alt-country (or whatever you want to call it) has many great bands but these two are without a doubt near the top of the list. Many fans were overlapping of course as the venue filled and the line strung outside of the ticket window when Lucero, who was on first, started playing at 8:00 sharp.

Their 75 minutes on stage was a no nonsense affair led by Ben Nichols raspy vocals and tons of crowd requests. Their set contained the usual suspect; “Nights Like These” “Texas & Tennessee” and their phenominal take on Jawbreaker’s “Kiss The Bottle.” Only a few minor surprises would appear in the 18 song set, among them were “Dangerous Thing” off of their long out of print first album. Some highlights from the tattooed 7-piece group were a rocked up “Chain Link Fence” and a grinding “All Sewn Up” as well as Nichols and keyboard and accordion player Rick Steff taking on “The War” and “Mom” (two of Lucero’s quietest songs) by themselves.

Drive-By Truckers and Lucero live at The Slowdown in Omaha, Nebraska on 9/16/14.

Lucero setlist from The Slowdown in Omaha, NE on 9/16/14:

  • The Devil And Maggie Chascarillo
  • On My Way Downtown
  • Nights Like These
  • Kiss The Bottle (Jawbreaker cover)
  • I’ll Just Fall
  • Women & Work
  • It Gets Worse at Night
  • Little Silver Heart
  • Texas & Tennessee
  • Union Pacific Line
  • Chain Link Fence
  • Don’t Go Wasting Lightning
  • The War
  • Mom
  • All Sewn Up
  • Dangerous Thing
  • Tears Don’t Matter Much
  • Fistful of Tears

After a 45 minute gap the headlining Drive-By Truckers took to the stage. Admittingly let down by their latest record English Oceans I was less enthused to see them than I was Lucero. Singers Patterson Hood and Mike Cooley now alternate songs throughout their sets which is great for variance and hearing plenty of Cooley songs (Cooley has written considerably fewer songs than Hood in DBT.) With some expected vocal issues early “The Righteous Path” could have been better and “Pauline Hawkins” seems to be a little longer than it needs to be were what Hood would start with. Cooley would spit fire early with “Where The Devil Don’t Stay” before taking on one of his tracks from English Oceans. Hood and Cooley would then shoot back with two of their oldest songs with Hood’s great “Box of Spiders” and Cooley’s “Uncle Frank.” The set would build as an average DBT set to Hood’s “A World of Hurt” which I consider to be one of the worst songs the band has recorded (but Hood apparently still love it.)

Then something happened, perhaps as a response to the long, drawn-out, boring “World of Hurt” Cooley fired back with his song “Marry Me.” That song has some of the greatest one-liners you’ll hear in a song, ever. Hood would come back with the agnsty “Lookout Mountain” and “Hell No, I Ain’t Happy” while Cooley would slip another rocker “Shit Shots Count” in-between. This was possibly the best four song run I’ve ever seen DBT have in nearly 10 times seeing them live. It was an amazing was to go off stage. The encore would start strong with “Birthday Boy” then Hood would pull out “Girls Who Smoke” which might be the best song the band has recorded since Jason Isbell left the band close to 10 years ago. “Girls Who Smoke” was never on an album and is seldom performed making it extra special. A not too disappointing absence of “Let There Be Rock” wouldn’t be bad but another long, drawn-out slow song “Grand Canyon” would end their time on stage at midnight sharp. It wasn’t the greatest way to end a set by a band that restored my faith in them but did represent what the band has become very well with a more adult and calm approach.

Drive-By Truckers and Lucero live at The Slowdown in Omaha, Nebraska on 9/16/14.

Drive-By Truckers setlist from The Slowdown in Omaha, NE on 9/16/14:

  • The Righteous Path
  • Where The Devil Don’t Stay
  • Pauline Hawkins
  • Primer Coat
  • Box of Spiders
  • Uncle Frank
  • The Part of Him
  • English Oceans
  • Hangin’ On
  • Space City
  • A World of Hurt
  • Marry Me
  • Lookout Mountain
  • Shit Shots Count
  • Hell No, I Ain’t Happy
  • Happy Birthday
  • Birthday Boy
  • Girls Who Smoke
  • Zip City
  • Grand Canyon

Drive-By Truckers and Lucero live at The Slowdown in Omaha, Nebraska on 9/16/14.Drive-By Truckers and Lucero live at The Slowdown in Omaha, Nebraska on 9/16/14.Drive-By Truckers and Lucero live at The Slowdown in Omaha, Nebraska on 9/16/14.

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