Lucero at Bell’s Brewery in Kalamazoo, MI

Lucero @ Bell's Brewery, Kalamazoo | Photo by Jena McShane

Country-punk stalwarts Lucero teamed up with relative newcomer L.A. Edwards for a night of twanged-out rock at Bell’s Eccentric Cafe in Kalamazoo.

The IPAs were flowing while fans decked in plaid shirts, blue jeans, and the occasional Halloween costume jockeyed for space in the near-sold-out venue attached to Bell’s Brewery’s taproom and beer garden. 

L.A. Edwards got the show going and, despite what one might (incorrectly) guess from the name, the band is actually based in Nashville with a sound to match. L.A. stands for Luke Andrew, lead vocalist and songwriter. Edwards is the last name. Luke started the band as a solo project and is backed on the tour by his brothers. Jerry Edwards sat in on the drums while Jay Edwards plucked at the bass. 

Edwards has released three albums to date. 2015’s self-recorded Secrets We’ll Never Know followed by 2017’s True Blue, produced by Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers’ bassist Ron Blair. Then in 2021, Edwards released Blessings from Home, which featured Blair on bass and The Heartbreakers’ Steve Ferrone on drums. 

Fans received a sampling of L.A. Edwards’ catalog throughout the almost hour-long set, with influences like Tom Petty, Creedence Clearwater Revival, and Jackson Brown coming through on the PA system. At the same time, it was clear L.A. Edwards had carved out a sound that is very much his own. Think sun-drenched, new Americana road trip music layered with a healthy dose of reverb. 

Once the crowd was thoroughly loosened up from the Bell’s beer and the bobbing to L.A. Edwards’ warm southern-tinged tunes, it was time for Lucero to take the stage. The Memphis alt-country/punk-country rockers released their 13th album, When You Found Me, in 2021 and have already begun teasing songs from their next project, Should’ve Learned by Now, which is due out this coming February. 

Fans were given a sample of where Lucero has been, starting with 2018 track “For the Lonely Ones” followed shortly after with “Sweet Little Thing” from their 2002 album Tennessee. After that, fans got a taste of what to expect from their newest album with a song called “Buy a Little Time.” The night also included longtime favorites like “Texas and Tennessee” and “Coffin Nails,” both of which really got the crowd moving. 

Frontman Ben Nichols bantered back and forth with the crowd between songs and genuinely sought to connect with fans as they raised their glasses in the air to salute the excellent musicianship on display. Regardless of what era of Lucero the crowd was treated to, the energy from the band remained at the same high level from start to finish. That’s something you don’t always get with a group that has been around and touring as long as Lucero. 

The encore included what is sure to be a classic setlist closer moving forward in Lucero’s new single “One Last F.U.” With a name like that and lyrics that talk about one last drink before going our separate ways, the song made an instant connection with the crowd.  

The group does not have any future tour dates on the calendar, but with their next album due in February, fans should be on the lookout for the next opportunity to hear the latest that Lucero has to offer. 

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About Jena McShane 27 Articles
Jena McShane is a Lansing, MI based photographer specializing in candid portraiture, live music, and stormy landscapes.