This weekend has been one of the most stressful weekends ever. I moved on Saturday with the help of some friends. Once we got all of my crap into the new apartment, I felt so overwhelmed. The feeling was unbearable. I was in an unfamiliar place. I moved from the suburbs to the city and I went from having a roommate to living alone. As exciting as it is, it’s also scary to feel completely on your own. I was stressed and on the verge of a panic attack so I did the only thing I know how to do. I grabbed my brother and we went to see a concert.

We sat down at the venue to grab some food and then I heard that voice. It’s raspy but soothing and it’s the voice that has helped me through many of the toughest times of my life. I looked over and saw Ben Nichols at the merch table and instantly all of the stress and anxiety of the move went away and I felt like I was home.

Ben Nichols is the lead singer of Lucero. Lucero is a southern, almost country, rock band that I have obsessed over for years. I have obsessed over them to the point of getting some lyrics of theirs tattooed on my arm. I love everything about the band but the number one reason why I fell in love with them was Ben’s voice. It’s one of a kind. It’s rough and sounds like he smokes at least a carton of cigarettes a day but because that music was there when I needed something, it has a sense of comfort to it for me.

I don’t usually get star struck. My goal was to get a picture with Ben last night. Sure, I’ve met him before and, yeah, I got his autograph a couple years back when I ran into him at Warped Tour (he was playing an acoustic stage) but I’ve never gotten that coveted picture. I truly freeze when I get too close to him. I lose any ability to talk and I quickly feel as if my legs are turning into spaghetti. I can’t explain why I’m like that around Ben Nichols. I have no problem going up to performers on a nightly basis to talk them. Even performers that I have obsessed over for years. Sure, I was super nervous when I met Sage Francis a couple months ago but I was still able to give him a hug and hold a conversation with him. Why is it that when I get within feet of Ben Nichols I seem to forget how to even breathe.

Once he took the stage, my brother and I made our way up towards the front of the venue. We had our beers in hand, and smiles on our faces. You see, my brother and aren’t always on the same page when it comes to music. He likes the more mellow stuff where as I just can’t get enough of the in-your-face stuff. The one band we have always agreed on is Lucero so being able to see Ben Nichols play solo with my brother by my side was a truly emotional experience.

Lucero’s music is mostly thrown into the “sad and sappy” category and when you take away the band, it gets even more depressing. I wasn’t in the mood for sad and sappy but I’m always in the mood for Ben’s voice. Even though the music was slow and quiet, the informality of the show made it not seem as depressing. Ben took multiple shots of whiskey that were put on stage and then proceeded to play every request that the crowd shouted out. Okay, maybe I should say he attempted to play every song that was shouted out.

The show was far from perfect. Ben seemed to forget a bunch of the words and even some of the guitar parts but nobody cared. I didn’t care. It was so much fun to see this guy I had put on a pedestal, have maybe one too many shots and just be a human on stage. He was having fun, we were having fun. He was making fun of himself and, after singing a song about a one night stand, he stood back and just muttered, “God, I was a huge asshole!”. It was cute, it was funny, it was real.

I’ve seen Lucero many times now but last night was the first time I got to see Ben alone. The music is the same and the sincerity you feel from the stage is the same as well. The difference is, Ben Nichols is humanized. He didn’t seem like the lead singer of Lucero last night. He seemed like just a regular musician just trying to have a good time.

Maybe next time I see him, I will be able to pull myself together and actually get that picture.

Line Up:

Lee Bains

Ben Nichols of Lucero

Venue: Turf Club

Sausage Fest Meter- 14 out of 10

Average Age of the Crowd- 35

Crowd Surfers- None

Stage Divers- None

Cryability- High

Broken Bones- None

Drunkards Taken Out By Security- None

Celebrity Sightings- None

Overall Score- 9.5 out of 10

Show on Deck- Macklemore & Ryan Lewis (I’m stoked… don’t judge!)