Show Review

John Doe with the Nick Luca Trio

The Patio

Tuesday, April 12

You'd think that a rootsy, blues-and-soul influenced indie-rock band would have no place alongside punk rock legend John Doe. Think again. The Nick Luca Trio was hand-selected by Doe to be both the opening act and the backing band for his latest tour, which stops at the Patio Tuesday, April 12.

With a sound that one critic described as a gene splice of Elliott Smith and Curtis Mayfield, Luca came to the attention of Doe via mutual friend Neko Case. All of a sudden, Luca finds himself on a frantic one-month tour with nary a day off. "It's pretty grueling. I basically stopped drinking, because I'm always driving after shows. That's what's saved me on the road, not drinking," Luca said in a phone interview from Hoboken, N.J.

"I tour with a lot of other people," says the singer/guitarist/keyboardist, "but it's always nice to get my own music out there in front of other people." Despite the punishing pace of the tour, there have been some perks - such as when Luca appeared on Conan O'Brien's show with Doe last week. "You can't beat that," he says.

Luca was already getting lavish praise from the media for his latest album, Little Town, a collection of slightly melancholy, bittersweet tunes, so the John Doe tour provides even higher visibility.

"It was perfect timing, getting on the tour. We have our business side falling into place, we have a new manager, a bigger record label, better distribution, some media buzz. Then the tour happened, then Conan happened, I couldn't be happier."

Asked if he feels he's in danger of being over-publicized, he laughed. "When you're a little indie-rock band, you take all the hype you can get."

The prolific singer/songwriter says he's already mapping out the next few albums, even as he tours behind the current one. "We have about 30 other songs waiting there, so we try to keep the new material coming while weeding out the bad stuff," he says. "It's like writing. Your eraser is your best friend."

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