I came across Austin Lucas’ music while I was on a road trip in Arizona. Austin, described as the “Rust Belt punk rocker-turned-alt-country troubadour,“ recently released Immortal Americans which fit the landscapes perfectly.
Country, folk, and bluegrass still feel like new territory for me, especially in a live setting. Taking that into account and having listened to the album a few times through, I was so eager to see this performance live that I got to Coney Island Baby over an hour early. When I arrived, drenched from the rain, I saw the TVs above the bar playing anime and old punk videos.
It felt like a meaningless observation until Austin appeared on stage wearing a Disfear shirt. The band began to set up making small talk with the crowd. This gradually turned into Austin singing a medley of mic-check sounds.
The “punk troubadour” was here and I knew we were all in for a treat.
The set opened with a few acoustic numbers. The twang of the guitar cut through the air, making space for Austin to step in and sing. Austin’s voice is powerful and quickly gained the attention of the room.
These songs remind me of driving on a country road with storm clouds looming on the horizon. A deluge of rain seemingly lasts for an eternity until the sun finally burns through revealing a new day.
After a few songs the band joined Austin at the front of the stage to sing with the crowd. The harmonies of their voices filled the room, accompanied only by an acoustic guitar. Three people singing that well was a treat to observe and honestly made me want to start taking voice lessons. By the end of the night everyone was chanting and singing along to the choruses of everything. It was friendship and camaraderie in a room of people I’ve never met.
The songs on Immortal Americans are haunting at points and hopeful in others, telling stories about the realities of life, dreams, difficulties, and resilience. It’s an exploration of an American experience and this performance made me appreciate it even more. It was gritty, raw, and the perfect thing for a rainy night.