Nov 5: Lucero & Frank Turner

Who: Lucero
Frank Turner

What: Free Show

When: Nov 5, 2010

Where: Stone Pony, Asbury Park, NJ

Why: Social D canceled
(Mike Ness was sick)

How: Amazing.

I saw the entire bill play the night before at Roseland in NYC (I hate that place). I’m a big Lucero fan. I have been to a number of Social D shows, it’s kind of hard to not like them as a 30 something punk rocker. Going in I was barely peripherally familiar with Frank Turner. I had seen them play with Gaslight Anthem at an outdoor show next to the Stone Pony earlier this summer, but it didn’t really register. That has changed.

At the Nov 4 Roseland show I was pleasantly surprised by those “Limy Bastards” (as Ben Nichols endearingly egged them). In fact, Frank Turner was my favorite act of the night. Due to no fault of Lucero’s, the sound engineer absolutely eviscerated their set. For some reason Social D just didn’t grab me at all. They played their songs, but I just couldn’t get into it. Maybe because Lucero and Frank Turner have such a full thick sound (especially with that 8 piece Lucero is carting around) and Social D is more straight forward.

When my brother called me on my way home from the office Nov 5 I was wearing a shirt, tie and jacket. “Frank Turner and Lucero are playing a free show at the Pony. Social D canceled.” Well, damn, after last nights show I wasn’t going to miss this. Figuring I’d scrape together something resembling suitable show gear, I diverted to my brother’s place to rally with our friend Sam and head off to Asbury Park. After some hit or miss I ended up in a borrowed Jawbreaker shirt and pair of Chucks, ate dinner with the folks, and shoved off for the great blue feeling wholly road worthy.

Once again Frank Turner did everything but disappoint. This guy has a talent for working the crowd, coaching sing-a-longs and pronouncing with a voice entirely suited to his vocation anthems of traditional punk rock rhetoric with a folky countryish twist. The crowd was more than happy to comply and with just one night of priming I was able to singing along to at least the hooks of most of his tunes.

Then came Lucero. Given the extra time of suddenly being the impromptu headliner, they played for about two hours. No encores or breaks. They absolutely killed it.

I never really make a habit of keeping what tracks bands play. I see more than my fair share of shows and generally over the course of time I’ll have seen them play most of what I’d like to see. Lucero seems to have dumped out the entire bucket of my favorite tracks last night. They claimed to have mucked through it, but they completely nailed it.

Finally Frank Turner got on the stage with out his backing crew, prodded along by Ben Nichols of Lucero. He was a bit agush about playing a request from earlier in the night. Finally, after Ben Nichols promised to sing along with him, “an inch from kissing,” he brought home (without Nichols) the track that the Boss must have railed on that stage so many times before, “Thunder Road.”

Well folks, my night was officially made at this point.

I had bought both of the albums and a tshirt Frank Turner was hocking the night before, but feeling compelled to support the guys that just put on such a blast I at least bought a Lucero shirt. I made my way over to Frank Turner (who mans his own swag table), gave him a firm congratulatory hand shake and said “Well shit Frank, if I didn’t buy all of this yesterday I’d be buying it again tonight.” He reached out his hand again in thanks.

Brother, Sam and I ambled the board walk a bit then made the trip back home.

Universe, full marks for that night. And full marks to Lucero and Frank Turner for putting on a hell of a show, and to the Stone Pony for letting us all share it for free.

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