SBIFF: Opening Night Film - Miranda's Victim
Wed Feb 08 @ 8:00PM
Category: SB Intl Film Festival
Lukas Nelson opened his recent Arlington show without a word of hello--just a blazing guitar riff and a keen sense of what his Wednesday night crowd needed. He clearly knew his fans well and realized that this group was ready to rumble. He had swaths of the audience up and dancing by the second song, "Fool Me Once,” a popular single from his 2017 album.
Nelson's stage energy was enhanced by his talented five-piece band, Promise of the Real (POTR). Drummer Anthony LoGerfo sported aviator sunglasses and an epic mustache. I had to do a double take to make sure it wasn't Miles Teller in his role as Goose's son in Top Gun Maverick...(not a bad thing)!
After the second song, Nelson took a quick breather to introduce himself and his band. The crowd responded with unfettered enthusiasm. Indeed, Nelson and POTR have managed to amass a serious following in Santa Barbara.
Throughout the show, bass player Corey McCormick served as a noticeably fun fixture at Nelson’s side. He danced around the stage, provided solid background vocal harmonies, and often switched between a range of beautiful instruments (my favorite was a bright turquoise electric bass).
Nelson and POTR know how to keep a show moving. With banter at a minimum, the audience enjoyed plenty of time out of their seats dancing. During one fan favorite, the chorus' lyrical hook ("Out here in the country, forever is a four-letter word!") had the crowd hooting and hollering. Logan Metz (keyboards, lap steel, vocals) switched from his trusty upright piano to lap steel for the number. Nelson served up a dirty and delicious breakdown guitar solo, with many more rows of the crowd up dancing at this point. Nelson's guitar solos tend to hit in all the right ways. By this stage of the show, everyone had forgotten that it was a Wednesday night--the audience was in full Saturday-style celebratory mode.
After an impressive piano interlude spotlight for Metz, Nelson brought out an acoustic guitar for a sweet fingerstyle take of "Just Outside of Austin."
Next came "Leave 'em Behind" from the 2021 album "A Few Stars Apart." Nelson explained that he had written the song for a friend going through a hard time who is now "doing just great." Good to hear! Nelson then played another fan favorite, "Forget About Georgia," followed by "Carolina."
On "Find Yourself," the stage spotlights turned to the audience while Nelson led the full crowd in singing the chorus--satisfying and definitely fun.
One of my personal favorites was "Turn off the News (Build a Garden)" from Nelson's 2019 album of the same name. As Nelson crooned, "Give the kids hope that they can see...Turn off the news and build a garden with me," an audience member shouted cheerfully, "F--K YEAH!"
Until the night’s end, this Arlington audience remained exactly in tune with Nelson and POTR. Surely, the same crowd will eagerly snatch up tickets the next time he comes to town.