Lucero / Shovels and Rope
Phoenix Concert Hall, Toronto ON, March 26
With just an acoustic guitar and bass drum, folk duo Shovels and Rope were able to get the crowd worked up and stomping from their first song. As the set went on the two members of the band would swap instruments, and share vocal duty, creating more of a feeling of two friends making music, making the room feel much smaller.
Lucero took to the stage after a very short break, playing a few of their faster songs to ride the high energy wave created by Shovels and Rope, before changing over to acoustic guitars for some quieter songs, setting the tone for the rest of the night. Of the two hours that Lucero played, most of the time was focused on what vocalist Ben Nichols described as "the slow, sad shit" — songs like "Fistful of Tears," "The War" and "Raising Hell."
It was pretty clear that a solid portion of the crowd was expecting a night of drinking and dancing, and was having a hard time connecting to the slower show. To their credit, the band sprinkled a selection of their fastest songs throughout the set, to keep some energy in the crowd, and even took some requests for older songs from the fans that spent the show right in front of the stage. The performance was absolutely solid; despite a relatively small crowd, the band's energy was high, and the keys and horn sections make for a great backbone to the performance. In the end, it was a great performance for anyone that was able to connect with the atmosphere Nichols was trying to create, but anyone looking to dance away a Tuesday night likely left a little disappointed.
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