Lukas Nelson & Promise of The Real
Lukas Nelson and Promise of the Real made a two night, sold out, stop at Knuckleheads in Kansas City on May 7th and 8th of 2019. The Promise of the Real is comprised of Anthony LoGerfo (drums), Corey McCormick (bass), Logan Metz (keyboard), and Tato Melgar (percussion). The crowd quickly gathered Tuesday night in anticipation of Lukas and the band bringing their high energy show to the small venue. Many in attendance must have had the feeling that this could be their last opportunity to see Nelson in a small setting with his growing success. I was grateful to be a part of both nights and I was able to experience the uniqueness of each night of this spectacular two-day event.
In promotion of his values and beliefs in bringing knowledge about farming, he requested that local farmers come and set up stations to sell their goods and services prior to the show. On Tuesday, before the show, during the local Farmer’s Market, Lukas was connecting and talking with each farmer as well as fans. The show was held in the Garage of Knuckleheads (one of 5 stages) which holds about 2,000 people. Lukas had most recently come to Kansas City when he opened for Blackberry Smoke February 8, 2018.
Close your eyes for a moment. Humor me for a minute if you will, especially if you have never seen or listened to Lukas Nelson, and go with me on this journey. You are at the show tonight and you are seeing and hearing him for the first time. You are chatting with your friends, getting another beverage, or something to snack on. Local talent, Lily B. Moonflower has finished her set and Lukas and the band has taken the stage. Your eyes are closed so that you can ground yourself in the moment. As you hear the music begin and Lukas starts to sing, the sound is a familiar one. You wonder if it is a mistake and that you are hearing Willie Nelson on the stage instead. Your eyes open and you see that it is in fact Lukas on the stage. While Lukas sounds very much like his father, vocally, the music, the enthusiasm, and the passion is all his own. Lukas Nelson does not ride the coattails of his father’s success. Instead, he has worked hard to develop his own style and carve his own musical path. Even with the massive success of the movie A Star is Born, Lukas remains humble to his fans and true to himself.
The Garage was packed with an excited crowd ranging in all ages. The set ranged from older songs like “Forget About Georgia” and “Four Letter Word” to his new single “Turn Off the News” off his upcoming album, Turn Off the News (Build A Garden). During “Find Yourself,” he involved the crowd by having the ladies sing with him and then the guys during the latter part of the highly relatable song. And what would one of his shows be without jumping with Corey, the bassist, and Lukas playing his guitar with his mouth. One of the ending songs was “American Girl” by Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers. The crowd erupted in cheering for Nelson and The Promise of The Real, thinking they were about to walk off stage. The band huddled up and without leaving the stage, they played a few more songs for an encore to the highly energized crowd.
Ganstagrass opened night two of the sold-out event with their high energy bluegrass and rap fusion. Lukas Nelson and Promise of the Real took the stage in front of a crowd that equally matched the intensity and passion of the band. Setlist for night two did include repeats of fan favorites such as, “Forget About Georgia,” “Four Letter Word” and brand-new single, “Turn Off the News” from the upcoming album Turn Off the News (Build A Garden). Two songs added to the setlist were “The Joint” and his dad’s 1975 hit, “Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain.” Gangstagrass also joined Lukas Nelson and Promise of the Real onstage for a song that showed the range and diversity and the appreciation for different musical genres. There were times towards the end of the set on Wednesday I found myself misty-eyed from soaking in the magic that had occurred on these two nights inside Knuckleheads Garage. Unfortunately, all great nights must come to an end as Lukas and the band closed out the night with a rock n’ roll song. The crowd cheered while the band took a bow. I turned around to notice local artist, Shane Steinert, who had painted a live portrait of Nelson during the show. As everyone began to filter out of the Garage, Lukas stayed on stage, talking, signing autographs and taking selfies for everyone who had been up front from the beginning.
I think that I can say with accuracy that those who were in attendance, knew that they were apart of and had witnessed a special time at Knuckleheads. The overall connection to your community is vital and that was the major part of these past two nights. Lukas Nelson brought everyone together through music and a farmer’s market. It was more than just going to a live music show, it was about connecting with or reconnecting with others. Lukas Nelson and The Promise of The Real will be releasing their new album later this year. They will also be playing a sold-out show for the first time at The Ryman, May 17, 2019. It will be exciting to watch Lukas and the band continue to evolve and grow as musicians.