Pop & Hiss

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Coachella 2010: Breaking twilight with Lucero

April 16, 2010 |  9:54 pm


Poor Lucero. There's always some band at Coachella that gets sucker-punched with the time slot across from a legendary act like the Specials. It doesn't help either that Lucero's punk-country -- a little bit whiskey, a little bit jackrabbit blood -- might have been a better fit for Stagecoach next weekend.

All the same, the Tennesseans gamely took on the rumble, playing to a small but attentive crowd in the Mojave tent. And in many ways, it's better to play to 200 people who want to be there rather than 400, half of whom are whiling away dead time till some dance tent hero or another comes on.

Lucero kept it casual and intimate, with Ben Nichols devoting a song to his tough-loving mom. As twilight settled in, the six-piece replete with horns launched into 2005's "Nobody's Darlings," which catches on a ragged bit of piano, dirt-speckled and lonesome. It felt right in the desert, as Lucero swung between speeding train chug and staggering, stomach-clutching emotion.

--Margaret Wappler

Photo: Festival-goers on Day One of the three-day Coachella Valley Arts and Music Festival, on the Empire Polo Club grounds in Indio, Calif., April 16, 2010. Credit: Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times