Concert Reviews

Lucero's First Show Was Also Guitarist Brian Venable's First On-Stage Performance

Welcome to My First Show, where we give bands a chance to talk about the first shows they ever attended -- no matter how uncool and embarrassing those tales may be.

Lucero has played Dallas a few times in recent memory (including our DOMA showcase last year). But they've never played the Warped Tour before. So, for the first time ever, as the summer-long touring festival kicks off in Dallas on Friday, Lucero will share stages with dozens of screamo, electronic, punk and metal acts.

Surely, this year's festival will serve as the first-ever live music performance experienced by a number of attendees. So, in advance of his band's first-ever Warped Tour show, we caught up with Lucero guitarist Brian Venable -- on the last day of his 30s, no less -- to talk about his own first show memories.

Growing up in Memphis and seeing a lot of punk shows along the way, Venable says he originally wanted to start an "emo country" band -- a tag he calls "one of the worst descriptions I've ever come up with" -- after listening to a lot of Christie Front Drive. He ended up with the punk and country blend that Lucero now serves -- and the band's first-ever show was also his first time acting as a live performer. Now, all these years and eight albums later, Lucero is still going strong. 

After the jump, he tells us his early memories as both a performer and concert-goer.

What was the first show you remember seeing?
My dad took me to see everything growing up. I do remember going to the Mid-South Fair and seeing Jerry Lee Lewis was playing, which would have been '78, '79, maybe '80. I just remember being bored out of my mind. I was all of seven, maybe. He had taken me to see The Buddy Holly Story. I knew about American Graffiti. My dad instilled it in me, I guess. I knew about music from an early age. The first show I ever went to by myself was The Bangles and Hoodoo Gurus on the "Walk Like an Egyptian" tour. The Bangles were all right, but I fell in love with Hoodoo Gurus.

Did you pay to see The Bangles and Hoodoo Gurus with your own money?
I may have. It was around my birthday. I was working for my dad's shoe shop, fixing shoes, apprenticing. Everything I was wearing, I think I paid for myself. I remember I had bought a Circle Jerks shirt and a dress vest over it. If I wanted to take a friend, I think [my parents] paid for that show. The first show I ever paid my own money for was probably a punk rock show. Three, four dollars at the door kind of thing.

Probably a punk show with local bands?
It might have been The Descendents in '86 or '87.

Were these shows in Memphis?
Yeah. I spent a lot of my twenties hobo-ing around, but I spent most of my formative years in Memphis.

What do you remember about the very first Lucero show?
Not a whole lot. It was eight songs, maybe. It might have been six songs, but it was all 15 minutes. We played first. My friends had a warehouse and a little stage with Christmas lights. It was across the street from the Lorraine Motel, so when you were watching us, you could see it behind us. It was the first show I'd ever played. I never played music before Lucero.

Did you ever go to the Warped Tour?
I've never been. I don't want to say I was too old for it, but it was one of those things where I preferred punk rock in a dark, sweaty place with low ceilings and bad attitudes.

Can you remember the first time you played Dallas and which venue you played?
I could be completely wrong, but it might have been Club Dada. I know we played Trees once before they shut down, and there might have been 60 people in there. We played the tea room in the Gypsy Tea Room a couple of times. Then that place closed down. We played Fort Worth a couple of times at the Longhorn Saloon. I just heard that place closed down. So it sounds like if we played the club too often, it gets closed down.

Lucero plays the Warped Tour on Friday, June 24th, at the Gexa Energy Pavilion.