Last night was the first time I got to lay eyes on Grace Potter & The Nocturnals. Hopefully it won’t be the last. I own two Grace Potter records, but I was kind of surprised at the show I just witnessed. I thought their 2007 record, This is Somewhere, was great, but I hadn’t listened to it in a while and I was trying to absorb their new release, Grace Potter & The Nocturnals, in time to prepare for what I might hear at the show. I might have gotten through it twice in its entirety. That’s not much to go on, but I was looking forward to seeing her. It’s not that I forgot what they sounded like, but I pleasantly surprised at the amount of rocking Grace does. It seems as if I should have done a bit more homework listening to their back catalogue because I wasn’t quite expecting a rock concert. I definitely got one, that’s for sure.
I don’t have a set list to go by, but The Nocturnals banged out several new tracks during this show and they were very well received. You don’t always get that when you play the “new stuff” in concert. The new album is scheduled to drop June 8th and after watching them play most of it live I’d recommend picking it up. There are a lucky 13 tracks on the new CD and they played the majority of them. I thought “Hot Summer Night” and “Medicine” kicked the most butt myself, but the crowd seemed to love “Paris (Ooh La La)” and “Ah Mary” even more. “Mastermind” was outstanding as well.
I don’t know if they’ll ever be as popular as their Vermont brethren Phish, but ski country can be mighty proud of Grace Potter & The Nocturnals. Boston is the closest major city they play so it was a sort of homecoming for them. Apparently they just recently returned from the UK and were feeling a little jet lagged. I didn’t count the songs or anything, but it felt like they played a good twenty songs and played around two hours. Grace Potter & The Nocturnals come at you with an old school look to them. The two guitar players and the drummer, identified by Wikipedia as Scott Tourant, Benny Yurco & Matt Burr respectively, look like they stepped out of a rockumentary from the 1970′s. Long hair flying everywhere. They can all play though make no mistake. In fact, the musicianship surprised me. I think I was expecting more of a softer rock show.
The sound was excellent as well. Not one peep of feedback and it was plenty loud without splitting any eardrums. Then we come to Grace herself and her bass player Catherine Popper. There is no way around this so I’ll just say it; there’s a lot of sex appeal between those two. That never hurts any band. Two beautiful women right up front and great music to boot. What’s wrong with that?
Grace had a Heidi Klum ‘do that never stopped moving. Dressed in a slinky black dress with sparkly gold lines, Grace came out rocking right off the bat. Her enthusiasm for what she is doing is very contagious. She has an extremely warm and congenial way about her that is endearing. She seems like a bit of a goofball and the crowd loved her. She does a lot of jumping and dancing while she sings and plays the guitar, tambourine and organ. She’s definitely the maestro of the act, but all of the musicians had their moments in the sun during the show. Everyone in the band looked like they got on very well and everybody seemed to be having fun. People can sense that I think. The crowd was very young and there were a lot of female fans, which is always a good sign for a band. Making a living in the music business these days is harder than ever, but the effort that Grace Potter & The Nocturnals put in last night will serve them well going forward. The show was executed flawlessly I thought.
One last thing; Grace mentioned halfway through the show that she once got to lick Iggy Pop’s chest and that she found him very attractive. I thought that was so Rock & Roll. And there song “2:22″ sounds like it came right out of the Led Zeppelin playbook so you know they are a serious band. Their encore included a cover of the Jefferson Airplane classic “White Rabbit.” Considering that Grace Slick absolutely nailed that vocal the first time around I’d say that is mighty brave of Grace Potter to try, but their version is really very good. Maybe she just needed to sing another Grace’s song I guess. At the end of the night the band crowded up onto the drum kit and everybody played them all at once. I’ve been to a zillion shows and I’d never seen that one before.
I’m going to leave you with a YouTube clip of her song “Medicine” so you might get the feel of what it was like to see Grace Potter & The Nocturnals. Buy the record and go see the band. Bands like this need to be supported. They’re a blast.