Lucifer has been an elusive band for me. I’ve had to miss the last 3 times I was supposed to see them, once before at Reggies; once before at Thalia Hall opening for High on Fire; and most tragically at the 2017 Psycho Las Vegas show (never be a lawyer). So despite the fact that it was a school night (but seriously, fuck you Uncle Acid, a goddamn Tuesday next week?) and the first night of the NCAA Tournament, I sucked it up and got my ass down to Reggies. Good thing I did.
I’m not sure what I was expecting. I know Johanna Sadonis has put out nothing but quality records in The Oath and Lucifer in the last 5 years. And I knew Nicke Andersson was going to wear a weird Turbonegro-ish outfit behind the kit. But as a live animal, Lucifer is not yet a known quantity. I’m here to tell you that it won’t be long before that is turned the fuck around, because this band just fucking took it to the audience. Routinely I would hear around me when a song ended, “Wow!” and “Damn!” as the crowd seemed genuinely shocked at just how rad the whole thing was.
Unapologetically retro and campy, the band with Sadonis at the helm came out intent on doing one thing. No bullshit between the songs, no let up in the pace, just one 70s hard rock jam after another. I was a little concerned that the band might appear a little kitschy onstage (indeed, one of the openers, Black Road, fell prey to the attractive, vampy woman/unwashed dude cliche). But Lucifer felt like a unit that had fuckin fun playing these songs together, and it just so happened Johanna looks like she does. It was palpable from jump. I still find myself using that trite “female-fronted” qualifier for bands like Lucifer, but this performance emphasized why that is bullshit. Doesn’t matter what the gender is. Does the person give a fuck? Are they authentic? Are they talented? Are they doing something interesting? Johanna checked all those boxes tonight in a fantastic way, and nothing else matters.
Highlights for me were my favorite songs on each of the records, “Purple Pyramid” from the first and especially “Reaper on Your Heals” from Lucifer II, which closed the main set and featured an excellent extended jam in the outro. Then, just to drive their point home, these fuckers played “Bomber” in their encore. They were also smoking and drinking non-stop on stage, and engaged in Downing/Tipton synchronized rocking routinely. If you weren’t having fun, that shit is on you.
Early candidate for a Top 10 show of the year in a spot I wasn’t expecting it. And I didn’t even get drunk…well…that drunk. Who wants to be sober at work on a Friday anyways?