Lucinda Williams

Who goes to a Lucinda Williams concert to hear how loud her band can be? Neither my friend nor I, so I guess you’d say we were disappointed in her show at the Lobero last night (3/6/15). She got off to a bad start, waiting 35 minutes to take the stage after the 40-minute set by a generic Southern-rock group (named after its singer and lead-guitarist, the tattooed-stomach-baring Kenneth Brian). Even the mellow Santa Barbara crowd had grown restless. Her appearance, if I’m allowed the comment, was unsettling: she has gotten very heavy up top,  her jeans and her jacket struggled to contain their contents. She had paid no more attention to her hair than Chrissie Hynde or Patti Smith, and it looked worse, if anything. The sound mix on her first few songs was off: we heard a lot of drums, especially bass, and not much of Lucinda’s vocals. Then her band left the stage and matters improved: we could hear her singing and were reminded of what good songs she has recorded, such as “2 Kool 2 Be 4-Gotten.” When the band returned, so did the volume. The mix was better, but Lucinda sang less: a couple times she just watched from the sideline as the drummer and two guitars tested how hard they could rock. By the end,  it was more a typical arena-rock performance than the intimate kind of singer-songwriter concert you’d hope for at the Lobero or the experience you’d expect from her records. And no “Passionate Kisses.”