Following his stellar performance at C2C 2018, Lukas Nelson returned to the UK with his band Promise of the Real, and a few of us were lucky enough to bare witness to his incredible show at The Garage in London on July 10th.
In my experience, the mention of Lukas Nelson to people over here in the UK is normally followed up with, “he’s Willie Nelson’s son”, and while he makes no secret of the fact, it is certainly not what defines him musically. Lukas Nelson is a rare talent, one of the few people on this earth who are musical down to their soul. This is evident on their self-titled album, released last year which features 12 songs each different to one another but each so so good.
The band opened with ‘Entirely Different Stars’, a new song which imagines life in outer space and has the best guitar riff. They then went on to perform ‘Die Alone’, ‘Fool Me Once’ and ‘Runnin’ Shine’ before killing it with crowd favourite ‘Carolina’. There’s something unique about the style of music that Lukas Nelson & POTR make that really lends to live shows. It’s one of the best gigs I’ve been to.
The highlight of the gig – except for Nelson’s insane vocals throughout, obviously – was the middle of the set, when Nelson performed a few songs just him and his acoustic guitar. ‘Just Outside of Austin’ was particularly special, it’s one of the best on the album and sounds even more incredible live. He had the whole room hanging on every note, the crowd silenced as he held the note on “outside”, much like he did at C2C. Gave me goosebumps then and now.
When the band rejoined, they played the amazing ‘Forget About Georgia’, featuring that incredible guitar solo I’ll never tire of. Another personal favourite was one of the last in the set, ‘Build A Garden’ or ‘Turn Off The News’ as it’s also referred to, which is one of those songs you really wish you’d written. He sings with such emotion in his voice, that as the audience you really feel the meaning behind the lyrics. Nelson manages to express himself lyrically and vocally, while showcasing his talents on the guitar and jumping around the stage without missing a beat.
The Garage was the perfect venue for really making the audience feel connected to the artist and there’s something about a small venue that makes you feel special to be one of the few fans of that genre, whatever it may be loosely defined as. Though I felt so lucky to be one of the few hundred people in that room, I couldn’t help but feel that they would have had no trouble selling out a bigger venue.
The show lasted 2 hours, featuring 20 songs, each with an incredible instrumental that the crowd never seemed to tire of. I’m sure nearly every single person in the audience, at some point during the gig, wished for those songs to be about them. By the end of the gig my feet were killing me, I was hot as hellll and I somehow lost half a heel from one of my beloved boots… but I would have stood there for hours and hours longer listening to anything they had to perform. Only downside – no ‘Sound of Your Memory’, but I’m not complaining at all.
In short – if you are not listening to Lukas Nelson & POTR on repeat all day, every day, then what are you even doing with your life?