Formed over St Patrick’s Day in 2012, Syracuse’s best shitty punk band has had some member changes over the past eight years. Lucky33’s current lineup has seemed to solidify with Zac on lead vox, Red on bass, Useless Dave on guitar, and Kiwi behind the drums. This past August, these guys played a live stream at Photo City Music Hall with a setlist featuring old tunes from their Where’d You Get Your Values album and a handful of new originals. The tracks were then taken to Thirty Three Studios and were mixed and mastered by the band’s own, Useless Dave. Live in a Dive was recently released on 10/9 and I was given a copy to check out.
After some quick banter and an introduction of the band, “So Long and Thanks For the Scraps” launches this live album. The entire band explodes with Dave hammering on his guitar and Kiwi following suit on his kit. Then Zac opened his mouth and I was shook. Where did those pipes come from?! The chorus still had the same catchy vibe that I expected from these guys, but a more mature sound was beginning to emerge. Not only was the music more technical, but the lyrics were meaningful as well.
Before this album, I would have considered Lucky33 to be a party band. Definitely one that you want to show up and play so that you can belt out lyrics while pounding cheap beer. “Butter” started to change my thought process about that. Zac’s voice booms right from the start before Kiwi and his drums boisterously join in. The whole band takes flight at this point and puts poetry into motion. “I know you were the shelter, you were my escape. I held you in my hands like the ashes of a memory” are the best lines of their entire collection. Although impossible to knock the goofy out of this group completely, this song carried weight.
“Can I Meet Your Dog” was my personal favorite before I listened to it, cos I only care about your dog....not you. Then I digested it and it remained that way. Known for their self-deprecating humor, this song had an unexpected positive message to it. “Don’t give up, don’t give in.” Red’s bassline is top notch in this one and I rode it the whole way through until Useless Dave brought it to a close.
After sidetracked stories and jokes, the origin of “Limoncello Boy” is given before this fresh song rolls out. Each individual member shines in this track, but weaves in seamlessly with the rest. Zac’s vocals are a crazy mix of aggression and sincerity as he belts out deeply personal words. The rhythm gets hammered in by Red and Kiwi as they alternately tighten up and then let loose during the chorus. Near the end, Dave shines in his guitar solo and shows off his intricate finger work.
Closing their live album out with a previous tune from their Values EP, “Jimmy Steve,” leaves the listener with their familiar party anthem vibes and high energy. It seems like Lucky33 has found their groove with their current lineup. Combining the talents of these four dudes burgeoned the quality of this live album and I expect that will only continue. You can purchase a copy of Live in a Dive on Bandcamp or you can usually find a pile in a box that someone kicked behind the venue dumpster with the rest of the trash.