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By Alexandria Sardam
The lovely Grace Potter and her jubilant Nocturnals flaunted their musical prowess at the Taft Theatre in Cincinnati, Ohio this past Friday.
Their sheer enthusiasm for rock and roll shook up the surprisingly older audience that gathered for the show.
From the opening act of the Lumineers-ish sounding band, Langhorne Slim, to the second encore of “Medicine” by the headliners, the entire evening was bursting with animated applause and standing ovations.
First up, Langhorne Slim took the stage with a standing bass, banjo and quite the feisty attitude. Lead singer, Sean Scolnick made sure to take his time with exaggerated pauses, clearing his throat during his songs, generating whistles and chants that only fueled the musician’s desire to entertain.
The Edward Sharpe sounding vocals were accompanied by gritty, bluesy jams and a fun drum beat.
If you’re into a sauced down version of The Black Keys and enjoy bands like Lucero, check these guys out. They’re certainly a good time.
Shortly after, the Nocturnals took the stage. Immediately, drummer Matt Burr dropped that familiar beat that debuts the band’s latest album, The Lion, the Beast and the Beat.
Without much hesitation, Potter waltzed onto the stage with an almost immediate roar of applause following behind like her slinky shadow.
As she leaned over her Hammond B3 organ, her lips pressed against the mic as she sang the opening vocals that sent an electric chill down the spines of every concert-goer.
The whispered intro came as a deliciously, decadent precedent to this psychedelic, straight up, in-your-face jam complete with a flying v guitar.
The show just took off from there, hitting on a few songs from the new album and stretching all the way back to lesser played classics like, “Apologies” and “Sugar.”
The songs were softer but the energy wasn’t lacking while Potter took to her piano and belted out the ballad, “Stars.”
“I wrote it about a dear friend who passed away who was chemically not balanced,” she explained. “Sadly, everyone knew this was going to happen. They found her in a river, which was an affirmation of our deepest fears. But at the same time, people who are so imbalanced that way have this charisma that is stirring. Somebody like this person draws you in and loves the fact that they take things a little too far,” Potter said.
The emotional vibes illuminated throughout the theatre with the glowing lights that shone over Potter and the Nocturnals as the song transitioned into, “Down By the River”, a Neil Young cover.
The sultry, reminiscent melody of the cover grew faintly familiar then obviously exploding into a slowed down, heavy bass and organ distorted version of the song.
It was intense and commemorated the solidarity of the performance that had been graciously unfolding in the theatre that evening.
The main set came to a close with a Tom Petty-vibe sounding version of, “Stop the Bus.”
Potter’s vocals were spot on. Her husky vocals welcomed a sexy attitude that drew from hints of Janis Joplin, Stevie Nicks and Joan Jett.
She was in her own world of leather and hair flips as she sauntered across the stage, channeling her inner Mick Jagger. Potter came back out to perform a fan tweeted favorite, “Apologies.”
With the lights off and a spotlight on only the center stage, Potter took her flying v and a slide out for a gritty version of “Nothing but the Water I” into “Nothing but the Water II.”
It was perfectly set up. Just Potter, her guitar, a spotlight and those raspy vocals. Just when everyone thought it was over, Potter came back out for a second encore singing “Paris” and ending on a funky, spitfire version of “Medicine.”
It seems Potter and the band have really come into their own over the past few years.
With this new album out, it’s evident they are finally figuring out their look as a glam rock band and their sound as performers.
Potter exhibits this timeless maturity in her vocals and the the way she carries herself that is mesmerizing and lacking in many musicians today.
Grace Potter & the Nocturnals are true performers, guaranteeing a psychedelic experience show that is a little trippy and a lot rock.
Check out my Grace Potter & the Nocturnals and Langhorne Slim playlist on my Facebook page, PardontheInterlude Kernel