Music Feature

Concert Review: Lucero and Deer Tick Play Union Transfer

by Jonathan Roth
(and J. Roddy Walston and the Business Steal the Show!) Photos by Joshua Pelta-Heller.
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A show at Union Transfer with a lineup featuring Lucero and Deer Tick, plus two like-minded opening bands, might lead you to believe that the night would feature lots of raucous, boozy alt-country/rock. And you would be right … mostly.

Turbo Fruits, from Nashville, TN, started off the show with a solid, if somewhat forgettable, set of southern-tinged garage rock. They were followed by Baltimore's J Roddy Walston and the Business, who instantly got the crowd's attention with their mix of Memphis rock n' roll and Motown soul. Frontman J Roddy pounded on a piano and flipped his large mane like an (even more) possessed Jerry Lee Lewis, whom he name-checked as an influence during the band's set (not that anyone in the crowd hadn't already figured that out). The band is currently on tour with Lucero, and if they are putting in riotous performances every night like the one they provided at Union Transfer, there are going to be quite a few patrons leaving Lucero shows proclaiming that J Roddy Walston and the Business are their new favorite band.

Deer Tick were up next, with a set that primarily drew from the gravelly alt-country of their most recent album, 2011's Divine Providence. The band, mostly dressed in matching suit coats, burnt through "The Bump", "Something to Brag About", "Walking Out the Door", and "Funny Word", on which they were joined by members of J. Roddy Walston and the Business. Highlights of their set included a bruising cover of the Replacements' "Bastards of Young" and set-closer "Let's All Go to the Bar", which was well-received by the now-inebriated crowd.

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Finally, Lucero took the stage. In contrast to most Lucero shows, this night featured a restrained, half-sober set of the bands more mellow tunes. Despite the somewhat glossy production applied to lead singer-guitarist's Ben Nichols voice on their most recent album, Women and Work, he is thankfully still in full-throated raspiness live, as evidenced on this night. Their set mainly drew on songs from Women and Work, with live staples from earlier albums: "Chain Link Fence" from Tennessee, "Bikeriders" from Nobody's Darlings, and their cover of Jawbreaker's "Kiss the Bottle", from The Attic Tapes. It was a solid Lucero show, but the chaotic, drunken near-mess of their previous live performances was somewhat missed.

Overall, it was a night of music to which much whisky and beer should be consumed, a fact that was certainly not lost on the crowd.

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