Grace Potter & The Nocturnals @ House of Blues – 2.20.11

Photo by Wesley Hodges

Looking like a woman on the brink of superstardom.

After last night’s show at the House Of Blues, I now have my first sleeper pick for the annual new artist/show-stopping performance at next year’s Grammys.  Hot off a deserved “VH1 Divas” nod in December, it seems that Grace and this fiery group from Burlington, VT are primed and ready to make a serious push for the big time. The current winter tour has consisted of an impressive list of sold out theaters (with HoB being no exception) and after Sunday, it seems the Nocturnals have been matching this new level of demand with blowout shows nationwide. Ms. Potter appears to be in peak form as well, bringing an explosive Tina Turner swagger (and sense of style…) to an already powerful stage presence and serious knockout looks.  I hadn’t seen the band since Bonnaroo 2009, where the Nocturnals’ This Tent performance was not only my first show of the weekend, but also one of my favorites (other “Grace-aroo” highlights: seeing Grace and Scott punish a “Southern Man” cover with Gov’t Mule and then the Nocturnals taking a setbreak switch off during moe.’s late-night set), so I was ready to see how the new material would unfold on-stage.

Make no mistake, Grace isn’t the only thing pushing this group in their current direction, the Nocturnals could play with just about anyone and boost ’em to new heights.  The 2009 addition of Benny Yurco on guitars and Cat Popper (formerly of Ryan Adam’s backing band, as well as Puss N’ Boots – the all girl NYC power trio with Sasha Dobson and Norah Jones) on bass are a welcome addition to the mix.

After the raucous opener of “Sweet Hands -> Only Love”, the first half of the show peaked with a heartfelt  “One Short Night”, “Ah Mary”, and a jammed out “Oasis” (see video below) before the rhythm section left the stage to let Grace, Scott, and Benny pluck out a few acoustic numbers.  The unplugged trio began with a mellifluous take on Gillian Welch’s “Elvis Presley Blues” and then a moving “Treat Me Right”, from the bands debut album. Grace seems truly in her element behind an acoustic six string, and maybe thats why it’s so jaw dropping to watch her totally switch gears – and pick up that beautiful, pearl white Gibson Flying V electric guitar and fall in as the final piece of the Nocturnals’ crushing three guitar attack. The latter half of the evening featured exactly that, which was perfect for tearing through some of their electric songs from the last two albums.

Potter has come a long way since her early singer/songwriter days, but she truly belongs in the conversation with many other female rockers making waves in today’s game.  Finally, the Nocturnals put the finishing touches on the show with a stretched out, three song encore of “Stop The Bus -> 2:22 -> Medicine” and left the Sunday night crowd howling for more as they graciously took a final bow and headed back to the bus to enjoy a few days rest before the tour resumes later this week.

The incredible, high energy “Oasis Jam” where Grace uses that golden voice as an instrument

It’s Only Love

For a full gallery of pictures –

February 21, 2011 |  by  |  Photos, Reviews, Videos
 
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