Lucero

One of the most invigorating live bands around (when they're sober enough to stand), this foursome from Memphis continue to nudge their raw, Southern-tinged rock in new directions. Their 2006 album, Rebels, Rogues, and Sworn Brothers, saw them channeling the Boss—adding layers of bombastic piano to guitarist Brian Venable's angular, melodic guitar lines; drummer Roy Barry's wily beats; and Nichols's love-it-or-leave-it sandpaper growl. The frontman's heartache and earnestness remain as palpable as ever—he closed out their set at the recent Mucklewain Festival with only part-time pianist Rick Steff at his side. Launching into "Fistful of Tears," he served a reminder that beauty can sometimes be difficult to qualify—his rough-hewn voice and the spare piano filled up the whole darn world. With Bobby Bare Jr.
Sat., Nov. 10, 8 p.m., 2007
 
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