Sunday, July 12, 2009

The Grace Gospel

It's funny how life throws you a bone every once in awhile. I had been planning glorious things to say about Grace Potter and the Nocturnals well before I made it back to the 207 after my semi-southern state swing (Tennessee is the south but it's not the deep south..). I had made mental notes, once I got home I jotted down more hard notes so I wouldn't forget any of the good things I wanted to say, which proceeded to collect dust at the workstation in my efficiency. Tiredness from the trip led into a premature return to the working world as I was invited to gain from the bailout money (and may continue to gain if another bid goes through...blessing and a curse at the same time for multiple reasons, but none are a story for today) and never really felt like sitting down and putting fingers to keys for anything meaningful. I had no problem spouting bullshit on antics from my 10 or 12 days on the road and other random flashbulb insights since my return home, but the Grace Potter show meant something. I'm not really sure why. I was excited to see her prior to heading down. Everyone knew that. She was actually the first name I'd say when people would ask about who I was excited to see, even though she was a Friday afternoon act and by no means a headliner. But I liked her music and I liked what the band was about. I could sing along. I'd be semi-respectable in a concert setting. So with it having been a month since I saw GP&theN's perform I can now finally say this: I was absolutely blown away by what I witnessed.

For starters, Grace is a dime-piece. Just beautiful in most every way. Beautiful eyes. Beautiful smile. Beautiful legs, too, which she loved to show off in a well-cut dress. She wasn't runway pretty, or model pretty, she was just beautiful. And she could flat out play. Guitar, organ, tambourine - you name it and she rocked the rock out of it. I liken it to something I (and many others) used to talk about in college called track goggles. Similar to beer goggles, only it caused you to be blinded to a certain extent by ability. A girl who is flat out busted may have graded out as a 6 because she could run a 12low hundred meter, and the girl who you would look at and say, "Oh, her? Yeah, she's okay. 6 or 7?" if you saw her in street clothes you'd be thinking about ways to propose at a meet without getting yourself arrested. Maybe that's a little too extreme, maybe this explains some of my poor performances in meet settings. Again, neither here nor there. But clearly the fact Ms. Potter could get after it on multiple instrument increased her sexiness exponentially above what it already would have been.

The band was also well equipped, too. I'll steal a phrase from Mr. Lawler (speaking of Chik-Fil-A, but whatever) in that the Nocturnals had a touch of class to them. They were all dressed well; in a sense that they and Grace looked great together and all complimented each other well, but also allowed for plenty of their own rocker individuality to show through. There was the pretty boy lead guitarist who could get after it. A rhythm guitarist in a suit who had hair a bit longer than mine in my prime and a legit beard to go with it. A babe bass player who was sexy in her simplicity - perfect for a bassist imho. And their drummer had the thickest mustache I think I've ever seen and an ear to ear smile at all times. They were quite a trip.

This cohesion led to an extreme feeling of emotion which built and built and built as the show went on. They performed all original songs which had all been written by either Ms. Potter or Ms. Potter and other band members, so I'd suspect all of the songs they played had significant meaning to them. This added to an emotional connection between their music and the audience. The fact the band cared about their music made the audience care about them, and in turn become emotionally invested in the music. As the audience got more revved up, the band ratcheted up its emotion and intensity and so on and so forth. This interaction and dynamic was brilliant. This very well could have been accentuated by all the red they had on. Very vibrant. Very passionate. Maybe that was just me, though.
I'd like to poo-poo on the Roo planning department for giving GP&theN's a Friday afternoon slot; they were more than deserving of a Saturday slot on a stage. But I just can't because I think the tent allowed for a more intimate atmosphere. We were up close, 15 or 20ish rows back, but as the show went on you could feel people closing in towards the stage and the crowd growing and growing. It was pretty intense. So, while I would say it's a safe bet the next time they're at Bonnaroo they'll be on a stage (Which, hopefully. They'd do well there), I think the tent atmosphere was GREAT this time around.
As luck would have it the AT&T broadcast some station or "internet" site had running included this set, and in turn much of the set has found its way onto youtube. So (As you can see..) this isn't your standard amateur video from a camera phone but legit shit with multiple camera angles and close ups and group shots and everything you'd want to remember a concert by. It also was pretty cool because Mr. Lawler walked away floored, as well. And I wasn't really sure how he would take their style of music. He wasn't feeling the "Ragged Company" vid I tossed up earlier in the year so I thought he was a bit skeptical. But I was persistent and I guess he figured even if he thought it sucked Jenny and Kath would be around, too, so he wouldn't be stuck alone.

This was not the case, and since I returned north I've been preaching the gospel of Grace to all who will listen. I really don't care what kind of music you say that you like, I'll probably still say you'll like Grace Potter and the Nocturnals. I may be right, I may be wrong. But I feel it is my duty. I had hoped to make it up to VT this weekend to see her perform today, actually, but with my dogsitting duties I was unable to escape for the day. O well, I'm over it. There will be other times, I can promise you that. But clearly the hype machine is in full force as they played during moe.'s four hour late night set Saturday night set (I have no idea what moe. plays. It didn't sound great when I walked by. NIN was a little too much so we called it a rather early night around 2:30 and missed the fun. Shucks.) and she and Scott Tournet (lead guitar) played with Mule during their Sunday set. They're on the map. Get up to speed and check them out. A new album drops this fall and you can bet that I'll pick it up not-so-long-after it hits stores.

Come get some (and invite me when you choose to..Sounds like NYC in August, perchance? Happy Birthday, Asima...and thanks again for the invite to your birthday shindig last night...). Cheers.


  1. Wow, you got the bug bad . . .

    Feed your habit here

    I'm sure we'll see you around.

  2. august 7th - Grace in Brooklyn - free show

  3. At least you got a seriously legitimate drunk dial at 2:42 am...7 minutes 26 seconds in heaven, be thankful

  4. I clearly haven't been keeping up with MYNP and just read this post. I had to say that I appreciate the "track goggles" mention. That's a term I hadn't heard since I was sixteen and had them perpetually strapped to my face.

  5. haha hey now, no need to spew your hate towards me on "the pad".. i didn't realize you ever left maine but consider yourself formally invited to the next bash. the drunk dial was 7 min and 26 seconds of pure love because you were obviously missed. see you at GPN in sept? do it.

    yeah and sorry for not seeing this until a month later after you posted..