Grace Potter & The Nocturnals
There are pessimists out there who say rock ‘n’ roll is dead. Clearly, they have never heard of Grace Potter and the Nocturnals. So, lend them your ears and step back into time when rock ‘n’ roll really kicked with a hard edge that did not need an elaborate production except for a good brass section, backup vocals and keyboards. Potter and the Nocturnals stick to the basics, with hard-edged vocals and a guitar-driven sound supported by a pounding backbeat.
A musically sophisticated band inspired by the music of the late 60s/early 70s and fronted by Potter, this band has no interest in following trends, but is heartily in pursuit of timeless expression. Toughened by more than five years of nonstop roadwork, the Vermont-based band forcefully takes its place alongside the best of its peers while building on the rich legacy of its inspirations.
“I think what people love about us is the energy we generate playing together and feeding off each other,” guitarist Scott Tournet says. “There’s a lot of drive in our band and we manage to capture that. We love the music that we cut our teeth on and it’ll always be part of us, but we’ve reached the point where we’re consciously trying to push things forward.”
Grace Potter and the Nocturnals show that rock ‘n’ roll is alive and well, and that the melodies and sounds of the past can still be produced in their own special way. At the helm is Potter, a modern-day version of Tina Turner, who strokes the microphone in a spangled mini-dress while fronting the Rolling Stones circa Sticky Fingers.
“Grace is a rock ’n’ roll superhero,” Tournet says. “She can really bring it. She’s full of ideas, she never misses a note and the band is badass.”
Potter’s voice, as she belts, teases and soars to Tournet’s uncoiling guitar riffs, is positively lethal in its aggressiveness. Unlike other modern singer/songwriters, Potter has guts and gusto. And, she is not afraid to get her fingernails dirty. With boundless energy, she displays amazing prowess on the B3 Hammond organ and occasionally wields a Flying V, playing it like a pro.
The Nocturnals provide the quintessential backbone, displaying finely crafted solos and well thought out background harmonies. With lyrics remarkable for their flow, poetry, metaphors and imagery, every song is a winner and they are not afraid to step outside of the musical box.
“We realize we’re not the kind of band that’s ever gonna fit neatly in one genre,” Potter says. There’s a feistiness that’s completely unapologetic.”
Joining Potter and Tournet to create the rootsy rock/blues/soul mix are Matt Burr (drums, vocals), Benny Yurco (guitar, bass, vocals) and bassist Catherine Popper.
Nowadays, this band has definitely hit its stride with music that is genuine, tight and has just enough grit to make cries of slick confounding. Maintaining equal firepower on quieter numbers while still getting the groove going, the band combines strong guitar, voice and lyrics to create a sound that is unmatchable and straight up awesome.
Potter sums it up nicely. “We were a homegrown Vermont band for five years. Now, we’re a national act that does not want to be f—– with.”
Sunday, June 9 | 9 p.m. | $35 | 21 & older | Crystal Bay Club | Crystal Bay, Nev.