Lukas Nelson & His Band Deliver on Their Promise of Real Music

Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real
May 25, 2012
Arch Street Tavern, Hartford, CT

Lukas Nelson and Promise of the Real kicked off Memorial Day Weekend in Hartford, Connecticut with a spark and a flame.  The band performed an amazing eighteen song set at the Arch Street Tavern and packed it with original material, legendary covers, and gifted instrumental performances.  Lukas, son of living legend, Willie Nelson, displayed his amazing vocals as well as a plethora of electric guitar licks that could rival anyone in the music business. 

The last time I saw the band was as an opening act on the Country Throwdown Tour last Summer.  Since then, the band recently released a new album entitled, “Wasted”, and Lukas was featured on various songs in his father’s newest album, “Heroes”.  Lukas’ appearance has drastically changed as well.  He used to have long hair and wear a cowboy hat; however, he showed up with much shorter hair, a go-tee, and dark black eye-glasses (which he did not wear while performing).  But, much to his fans delight, his sound has not wavered at all.  Lukas’ vocals were spot on and his guitar playing was impressive as ever.  From the opening note of “Golden Rule” to closing jam-out, Lukas showed exactly why the Nelson Family is often referred to as one of the most talented musical families in the business. 

Each song had its own added “jam-out” strategically placed within the song.  Songs such as “Ain’t No Answer”, “Wasted”, “Don’t Take Me Back”, and “Four Letter Word” seemed to stand out to me as each member of the band got to shine on the tracks.  Lukas is backed by Anthony LoGerfo on the drums, Tato Melgar on percussion (mostly the bongos), and Corey McCormick on bass guitar.  The band is equally as impressive as their band leader as each member is clearly skilled at their craft.  In fact, their music is very unique in today’s world.  I cannot say what genre of music I would place the POTR in as they cross-over into everything from country to folk to rock with a bit of a Latin touch with Melgar’s infectious bongos.  Each song seemed to be extinguished with a jump kick and final intense guitar strum from Lukas. 

Lukas delighted the crowd with a slew of his own takes on some legendary covers.  He performed a dark and spirited version of Bob Dylan’s “Meet Me In the Morning”,  had everyone singing along to David Bowie’s “Major Tom”, and brought the fans back in time with Pink Floyd’s “Money”.  However, I really thought the highlight of the set was when he sang two song’s from Willie Nelson’s newest album, “Heroes”.  As I stated, Lukas was featured on multiple songs on that album (nine in all) and he performed two of those tracks.  “No Place To Fly” is the traditional old style country song that fans are accustomed to Willie singing.  However, father and son combined for an incredible version of Pearl Jam’s “Just Breathe” which I think is one of the best covers of any song I have heard in a long time.  Lukas did his best solo rendition without his father by his side and nailed it.  It has a hauntingly beautiful melody while Lukas’ unique voice, on that night, flowed over the song with brilliance

The POTR finished off their set as one would assume they would, with a heart-melting jam-out session where each band member had their time to shine.  The jam lasted well over ten minutes and the band took a group bow together once they finished.  Lukas and the band waiting by the stage after their performance and greeted each of their fans.  I took a photo with Lukas and discussed his home town of Paia, Hawaii as I recently visited there – and coincidentally, Lukas was wearing a t-shirt with the town displayed on the front.  I will not hesitate to see Lukas and the POTR again and again.  Their music style is refreshing in this day in age and I hope more fans will be able to appreciate and witness their unique and talented artistry. 

SETLIST:

  1. Golden Rule
  2. Ain’t No Answer
  3. Peaceful Solution
  4. Wasted
  5. Meet Me In The Morning (Bob Dylan Cover)
  6. Can You Hear Me Love You
  7. Wasn’t That Great
  8. Sound Of Your Memory
  9. The Joint
  10. Don’t Take Me Back
  11. Major Tom (David Bowie Cover)
  12. Don’t Lose Your Mind
  13. Money (Pink Floyd)
  14. 4 letter word
  15. Just Breathe (Pearl Jam Cover)
  16. No Place To Fly
  17. Amazing Grace (Acoustic Version)
  18. Solos by each band member individually

VIDEOS:

Just Breathe

4 Letter Word
Meet Me In The Morning