in performance: grace potter and the nocturnals

grace potter and the nocturnals

the new grace potter and the nocturnals. from left: catherine popper, grace potter, matt burr, benny yurco, scott tournet.

“By the end of the night, you all are gonna be a mess,” promised Vermont rocker Grace Potter last night at The Dame. The fact that the audience was in pretty orderly shape by evening’s end was a testament to its fortitude because Potter offered a tireless pop-soul slam down of a performance.

Distinctly Southern in the musical accents it displayed, Potter recalled the bluesy stamina of Bonnie Raitt on the modestly revivalistic Big White Gate and the more jam savvy grit of Susan Tedeschi during Toothpaste and My Table. While those are pretty common reference points in appraising Potter’s vocal prowess, neither suggests the stamina she and the newly realigned quintet version of her Nocturnals band (in what was only its third touring performance) maintained during the one hour, 45 minute set.

Songs like Stop the Bus and 2:22 unfolded as thick, punctuated blues incantations where Potter’s B3 organ grooves set up one rich, anthemic guitar solo after another from Scott Tournet. There were also times (Ah Mary being one) when Potter joined the band’s front line fun for beefy hooks on a vintage Flying V guitar. During Some Kind of Ride, though, her merry bash on a tambourine mingled with drummer Matt Burr’s tireless drive.

Potter saved the best for encore time by delivering a Sunday morning sermonette (it was, after all, after midnight on Saturday) that included a solo B3 version of Bob Dylan’s I Shall Be Released and gospel rave reading of the two-part original Nothing But the Water.

No, the crowd wasn’t a “mess’ after all of that. But they appeared weary and satisfied enough to call it a night. Potter, however, looked like she could have kept playing until the roosters crowed.

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