Thursday, November 19, 2009

Grace Potter & the Nocturnals - November 16 - Baltimore, MD

This show was billed as Grace Potter and the Nocturnals "co-headlining" with Brett Dennen. I was most impressed by Ms. Potter's performance at Floydfest this past summer and I saw her again in August at the Rt. 29 Revue. So I knew that I was guaranteed at least 50% of the show was going to be good. They snuck in another band to start things off, Pete Francis. He sucked. Just too much of a pop, soft rock, smooth sound for my taste. But Grace and her band came out next and they put on a fantastic show. She seemed truly happy to be in Baltimore, said she found some great tapas restaurants in the area and had so much fun hanging out in Charm City that they decided to stay over an extra day (they were performing the next night at the 9:30 in DC).

The Ram's Head Live was only about 2/3 full, which makes it a much more enjoyable space compared to when it's sold out and we were able to get right up front. They played several new songs which will be in their new album scheduled for release in the spring. One new one was "Oasis" which really rocked and I really liked "Medicine", with the refrain "I got the medicine that everybody wants". Indeed!

The current Nocturnals includes two great guitarists (Scott Tournet/Benny Yurco), their new bass player Catherine Popper (who is very easy on the eyes), and drummer Matt Burr. And of course there's Grace alternating between the Flying V guitar and the Hammond B-3 organ. I was standing close enough to the organ to see several labels on it that said "Customized for Grace Potter". Would be interested to learn more about that. A young guy next to me was looking quizzically at the Leslie cabinet with the spinning speaker, I told him it was a Leslie speaker and it was commonly used with the Hammond organ. He said "I have no idea what you're talking about". Darn kids with their iPods, where is their appreciation for musical heritage?

Anyway Grace puts so much energy in her singing and playing it is truly infectious and you really don't want her to stop. Couple that with her ability to write songs that are full of hooks and memorable lyrics and I imagine that she will be at the top of the charts and a household name in another year or two.

Based on what I've read, it seems like the project that she was working on with producer T-Bone Burnett has been cancelled and instead she's teamed up with another producer for the new album. I had high hopes for what T-Bone could do with her, but in the meantime she's still tearing up the concert circuit.

But don't take my word for it, take a look at this video from the show that my buddy Dan made or better yet, go see her the next time she's in town. I'll be there!

Oh, and Brett Dennen? We left after 1.5 songs, just a little too cutsie for my taste, but the 15 year old girls seemed to be enjoying him.

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