Grace Potter & The Nocturnals released a new record earlier this year, The Lion The Beast The Beat. I was a big fan of the first single, “Never Go Back” when it came out, and what I’ve heard of the new record is also great. Her songwriting continues to mature, and I swear I notice some prog rock influence in a few of these songs. Or that may just be wishful thinking on my part.
They played five tracks off the new album at this show in late April. The band is tight and enaged. Go see them if you can.
5. Grace Potter & The Nocturnals – “Timekeeper”. Starts out with just Grace on the piano. Then some drums, a little bass. Later, guitar. But for most of the song, the focus is on the piano. I like the epic flavor of this track.
I first saw Grace Potter & The Nocturnalsat Rothbury last year. Before that, I only knew them from this cover of Neil Young‘s “Cortez the Killer”, which Grace did with, among others, Steve Kimock and Joe Satriani (who I loved in this). The video was from the Jammy’s, where they apparently get people from different bands to get together and, well, jam. On different songs.
So I hadn’t seen her with the Nocturnals before Rothbury, where I was right up front. It was in the afternoon, on a hot summer day, and it was non-stop rocking the entire set. Grace is an awesome presence on stage, either behind her organ or out in front with the band. I had a great time watching them play. Until the suntan lotion started dripping into my eyes. And temporarily blinded me. So I had to stumble off into a shady place and flush my eyes out until the pain stopped. But that’s another story…
This band is a touring machine, and finely honed because of it. Follow the jump for a sampling of covers they’ve played while touring across the country this past year, hitting seemingly every nook and cranny of the continental U.S. along the way.
Writing a summary of Rothbury is kind of like explaining the Lord of the Rings trilogy to my 4-year-old daughter. I can give her a broad overview of some of the plot points and make some specific comments about some of the characters, but there’s just no way she’s going to understand without so much extra exposition that it’s pointless to even make the attempt. Not to mention that there’s just some stuff you’re not going to go into regardless.
That said, let’s delve into just a few details that should help set the Rothbury scene:
1. Rothbury is dirty in every way imaginable. (Not to mention literally; showers cost $10.)
2. Everyone is getting fucked up pretty much all the time.
3. I don’t know how you could have more fun at a concert — I never have.
To put that last point in perspective, consider that I am 36 years old and have been to well over 100 big-name touring act shows in the past 23 years since my first (Springsteen). I can’t even begin to estimate how many bar shows I’ve attended in that time. I have seen damn near every classic rock icon, plenty of indie rock, lots of metal shows, and even a handful of legendary jazz artists. So for Rothbury to compare this well to my better-with-age memories of Lollapalooza 2, Clash of the Titans, or some of the old-school Pine Knob shows when nobody cared what you brought in to the show, well, that’s saying something.