Lydia Loveless, decked out in a white lace, off-the-shoulder dress, cowboy boots, and pink bandana knotted around her calf, does not like Wednesdays. In fact, according to her when she and her band took the stage, whiskey shots, beer cans, and instruments in hand, no one fucking likes Wednesdays. Wednesdays were made for forgetting that it’s Wednesday, that life is messy, and music, reveling, and drinking help this forgetting get along, goddamn it. Every soul packed into Phoenix’s The Rhythm Room agreed wholeheartedly, judging by the raucous cheering, drinks clinking, and “fuck no!’”’s yelled in response. Taking advantage of the momentary distraction to savor the whiskey burn as her shot made it’s way down her throat, Loveless grabbed her guitar, set the mic, and led her band into a rip roaring hour and a half set.
While pulling from multiple albums throughout the evening, Loveless’s most recent album, Somewhere Else, released last year through Bloodshot Records, took center stage. Crooning through a stripped down version of “Verlaine Shot Rimbaud”, not only did Loveless demonstrate her ability to carry a decidedly country crowd through references to the fatalistic romance of two French poets, but that through powerful musicianship, references to French poets are as home in country music as Ford trucks and empty bottles of booze. “Head” and “Chris Isaak” brought the audience out of the lovelorn blues, though, showcasing her blunt personality and sense of humor; I cannot imagine the difficulty of keeping a straight face while singing about blow jobs and shoving your head up a guy’s ass, but Loveless does so fantastically. While she was tearing up the microphone and emptying shot glasses, the rest of the band did their best to ensure the stage was stomped into the ground. Bassist-slash-husband Ben Lamb spent most of the night throwing a full-sized upright around the stage, and considering he towers well over 6ft (not including his giant curly mane), this made for one hell of a spectacle to witness. Guitarist Todd May commanded the opposite side of the stage like a man on fire, jumping, bending, and contorting into positions I’ve never seen attempted nor played in. There seldom was a moment when the whole stage was at a standstill until the end of the set when Loveless stepped front and center and took the spotlight by herself for a 15 minute solo performance, allowing her band-mates to exit and reconvene outside on the patio to continue their revelry.
I would be remiss in saying that every note, on every song, was hit perfectly. That would be a blatant lie, and if there is one thing to be learned from Somewhere Else, it’s that blatant honesty burns harsher than cheap whiskey but is vital to surviving in this world. Some lyrics were missed and at times the guitars seemed slurred and stumbled over, just as a person’s stumble through life is rarely done smoothly or perfectly. It was obvious the multiple “band meetings” (read: toasting each other and downing whatever drink was closest) began to pull influence on everyone as the set went on. No one cared about the missteps, though. Hell, the audience joined in on many of the “band meetings.” Everyone in the venue was hanging on each word and note to come stampeding out of the amplifiers. Perfection isn’t plausible; perfection isn’t what Wednesday nights are about. As Loveless pointed out at the beginning of the set, Wednesday-fucking-nights were made for the honesty of drinking and forgetting and reveling, and that’s exactly what we did.
You can currently catch Lydia Loveless live on tour, both in the US and in Europe. For upcoming tour dates, click here.