OnlineRock Blog

20 December 2011

Lukas Nelson and Promise of the Real Plays in Malibu, CA

By Joseph Christ
Photos by Kristin Clemons

Along the Pacific Coast Highway in Malibu resides a little gem of a venue called The Malibu Inn. It's essentially an over-sized bar/restaurant with a stage and dance floor, sitting right along the highway, overlooking the beach - and with decent parking! The interior of the venue has an old fashioned vibe to it and was quite fitting for an evening of great rock and roll music. I use the term “rock and roll” because, contrary to what some people think, rock and roll is not dead. It might not be as prevalent as it used to be, but there are still some decent bands of the genre around today. A prime example would be Lukas Nelson and Promise of the Real, who played at the Malibu Inn last Friday.


Lukas Nelson and Promise of the Real.

One of the shows' opening acts, Revoltaire, was terrific. They played great and their sound of hard rock mixed with a dominant B3 organ complemented the headlining act really well. The lead singer Ruby Stewart, daughter of Rod Stewart, was exceptional. She has an incredibly powerful voice with a presence to be reckoned with. I had the pleasure of seeing them play at the Troubadour back in August and they have seemed to have grown a lot tighter as a band. I highly suggest checking them out. 

 Revoltaire.

Finally, at around 11:00 p.m., Lukas and the band took the stage to begin their set. This show was my 6th time seeing the band live and unfortunately, one of their least memorable performances. Don't get me wrong, the show itself was not bad at all. The band sounded and played great. But it just was not as good as other performances that I have seen by them. Their set opened with a new song that I assume will be on their new album, called “Wasted.” It's a solid, up-tempo, bluesy-rock song about getting wasted, something that I am sure a lot of us can relate to. 

 Lead singer/guitarist Lukas Nelson.

After a brief preview of their new material, the band played some of their better known material and a few covers from Neil Young, Jimi Hendrix and the Rolling Stones. After a handful songs into the set, I started to notice one thing that started to irritate me. After every song, they did something I like to call the “circus jump.” The circus jump is when the band is getting ready to end a song, and they build up to the last chord and the band members jump (sometimes multiple times), in unison, to execute the song. In my opinion, not all bands can pull this off successfully. In the past, the band seemed only to do this sparingly, at the right moment and for the right songs. I also thought it was done tastefully. But now, it seems to lose the effect when repeated every other song.

Drummer Anthony LoGerfo.

Something else that occurred to me about halfway through the show was that whenever the band played their new material, they had lots of fire and energy. But when it came time to play some of their older material, they seemed a little too comfortable. I spoke with a few other people who attended that show and they confirmed my observation. This is something that I am sure a lot of artists struggle with, so I tried to not let it bother me too much. The new material, however, sounded really good. If those songs are any indication of their forthcoming album, we are in a for a real treat!


 Debut self-titled album.

The high points of the evening were bassist Rick Rosas guesting on the song “Cortez the Killer.” For those who don't know who Rick is, he is a legendary bass player with a style and sound to match. Having played with Buffalo Springfield, Crosby, Stills, Nash, And Young, Joe Walsh and countless others, he is a veteran of the rock and roll scene and he played really well with the band that night. 

 Rick Rosas.

Another high point of the show was the performance of my personal favorite song, “2012: The Happy Ending.” I don't know what it is about that song, but I just love it. If I had to recommend one song by this band for someone to listen to, it would be that one. All in all, it was a great night, petty observations aside. Even though this was not the best performance by the band that I have seen, they still played well and sounded good. I have yet to see a “bad” show by this band. I just hope next time I see them, the energy between songs is a little more consistent. I still recommend seeing them to anyone who has an affinity for any genre of music, as this band usually delivers a highly enjoyable and energetic live experience.

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