The club music comes to a stop, sending out a silent warning enticing the crowd to cheer – the show is about to begin… Costumed fans push to the stage as the fog curls over their heads. Dueling blue lights stand frozen while the band takes their place. In true Halloween form, the musicians are festively displaying wigs, costumes and sunglasses. The band begins the night with notes that envelop the senses. Sustaining chords stream from the organ, washing over the on-lookers as the bass joins in. Two electric guitars follow suit when the drums add to the musical storm that’s brewing
The Sunday night Halloween crowd at the Exit/In in Nashville were not tricked at all by the costumes worn by Grace Potter and The Nocturnals (GPN). Even though they were dressed as Country Music stars Dolly, Patsy, Willie, Waylon, and Billy Ray, their music was spot on – heart, soul, and rock & roll! With eyes closed, Grace Potter lets loose a melody and draws the crowd into the passionate dance that is about to make this night be a treat!
This Nashville audience was ready to be entertained. People came from every shape, size, age, and gender. In a town saturated with “wanna-bes”, “has-beens”, “think-they-ares”, and “really-ares”, an artist has to look the part off stage and prove themselves under the lights. The “hope-to-bes” in the crowd took notes for sure. Grace won the trust of new fans and most definitely pleased her beloved believers. When you watch a band like this perform, you can relax and enjoy yourself – your surroundings melt away.
“Though GPN initially made a name for themselves — and became a self-sufficient touring unit — on the jam-band circuit, the group’s sound was deeply rooted in the golden age of rock ’n’ roll; they cite Little Feat and J.J. Cale as huge influences early on. Burr and Potter formed the earliest version of the Nocturnals while both were students at St. Lawrence University after he introduced her to the myriad joys of The Last Waltz. So it was that the two soon-to-be bandmates and soulmates formed their bond while in the thrall of The Band, Neil Young, Joni Mitchell, Van Morrison and Bob Dylan. All in all, not a bad place to start.” read more of the GPN bio
Grace Potter oozes talent. Her haunting high-note shrieks hooked the crowd in even more as she let down her walls and sang with ease. In addition to hitting the melody spot on, she was wailing on the electric and acoustic guitars, at home on the organ and striking the tambourine. Ttalent begets talent – someone with that much musicianship will naturally surround themselves with like-minded and skilled musicians.
GPN was more than captivating – they were inspiring. They prove you can be good LIVE. No need to fear, they aren’t just another group that sounds awesome on the recording and nothing like themselves in-person. In this digital day of technology where you can make a star out of a mediocre pretty face, these guys show up to play with precision and zest – it is sheer entertainment. Her quiet, emotional delivery mixed with long thunderous high notes give the listener heart-stopping eruptions leaving you lost in the moment.
What Grace Potter does bring to the table is soul… here is an excerpt from her bio:
I always wanted to be on stage, and I always knew that music would be a part of my life, but I didn’t realize that Rock & Roll was going to be my true path until I tried doing other stuff, like writing and acting. Music came so much easier than anything else, it was the only language I could really understand. Also I think meeting Matt and Scott, and building this band up from nothing gave me courage and was something worth working for, cause it wasn’t just about me anymore. Having other people playing with you, believing in you and counting on you is reason enough to keep plowing on in this crazy world of music.
Whatever equation Grace Potter and The Nocturnals are using for their music, it’s working. Grace’s magical mix of talent and artistry poured out of a transparent soul that flows throw melodies and vulnerable lyrics will keep anyone coming back for more. In one of her songs, Grace begs Saint Peter to open up the big white gates so she can get into heaven. She tries to convince the gatekeeper to let her in because she thinks the “folks up in Heaven might like to hear me (her) sing.” Heaven can wait a little while longer – people haven’t even begun to get enough of her here on earth!