Lucero at The Echo
Gary Schwind

Before Lucero took the stage for its second show at The Echo, you knew the band was about to do something different even if you hadn't been there the previous evening. Two drum kits were on stage, but the one in front was much smaller than the other. In addition, only one electric guitar was onstage, along with one acoustic. When the band took the stage, Ben Nichols announced that it would open with pretty much the same acoustic set as the previous evening. Someone from the audience called out, "I love the slow, sad stuff."

Nichols responded that he likes it too, but admitted during the set that it was nerve-wracking to play so slow and soft compared to the band's usual high-energy rock performances. After a couple songs, Nichols lifted a cup and said, "This is my first drink of the night. Maybe that was my problem, I should have gotten drunk before attempting this." It was just some of the charm that Nichols exuded during the evening. The acoustic set included songs like "When You Were Mine" and "Union-Pacific Line" as well as some older songs that Nichols admitted the band doesn't normally play.

As the the band was drawing near to the end of the acoustic set, Nichols thanked the crowd for indulging the band in its acoustic set. He followed that by saying, "It's kind of ridiculous that we're opening for ourselves." Not necessarily, Mr. Nichols. First of all, no one in the audience seemed to mind the acoustic set preceding the electric set. Second, it's not unprecedented for a band to open for itself. On the live album Heard It All Before, Clutch played an opening instrumental set as The Bakerton Group before proceeding to its usual rock and roll set.

After a brief break, the band returned to the stage and launched into its usual electric set. Nichols did seem a bit more at ease with the louder volumes and faster tempos. Admittedly while the crowd registered no complaints about the acoustic set, it certainly did seem to sing along more with favorites like "Sweet Little Thing" and "Women and Work".

Throughout both sets, Nichols not only showed considerable charm with the audience, but also a tremendous rapport with the other band members. Brian Venable, the other guitarist, seemed to poke some fun at Nichols throughout the show and during the second set, Nichols said, "I'm going to get you a microphone tomorrow night" (the band's third of three shows at The Echo). It was a great show in an intimate venue, and let's face it; aren't those the onese you remember most.