Grace Potter and the Nocturnals : Summerstage, New York, NY 7/20/2006

Grace Potter and the Nocturnals have been hanging out with My Morning Jacket…a lot. And it has helped turn this blues and folksy quartet from Waitsfield, VT into a full-fledged rock band. Three weeks prior to their Central Park show, the band played the High Sierra Festival in Quincy, CA where My Morning Jacket was one of the weekend’s headliners. Standing onstage watching in awe were Grace Potter and the Nocturnals-no doubt picking up a few things from one of music’s finest live acts. That same night back at the Nocturnals RV there was an intimate jam session with members from both bands. With Jack Daniels flowing, the two rising bands participated in an impromptu jam covering songs ranging from The Band’s “The Weight” to Poison’s “Every Rose Has Its Thorn.”

Back in New York on a typical hot and humid July afternoon, Grace Potter took the Central Park Summerstage at 5:45 where those lucky enough to bail on work were greeted by one of music’s biggest up and comers. Opening the set with “Stop the Bus,” Grace Potter adorned in a ripped black tee and jeans strapped on one of her newest weapons, a Flying V Gibson not unlike the one Mr. Jim James of MMJ is prone to use. Singing in a laid back Bonnie Raitt style, “We’ve been driving since the winter, the destination doesn’t change,” there resonates a lyrical anthem of their persistent touring over the past year. This constant road work has benefited the band’s live show- evident when bassist Bryan Dondero laid down a groovy base line for Scott Tournet to build off of – and finished the song with a 3-way choreographed jump.

As scantily clad New Yorkers filed into the Summerstage, Grace showed off her incredible vocal range breaking into the soulful intro to the title track from their 2nd album, Nothing But the Water. Clanging her tambourine and engaging the audience to clap along, she slowly made her way over to her brand new Hammond B-3 that has given the band its signature sound. Tournet once again added in a sweet guitar solo that was clearly a hit with the jamband fans in attendance to see Umphrey’s McGee and Galactic. Even with the guitar and organ solos, the band is careful never to “wank”; instead staying true to the original makeup of their songs.

The effect of My Morning Jacket on Grace Potter and the Nocturnals was most evident as they tore through the end of their set. The energy that Matt Burr exuded from behind his drum set conjured up images of MMJ’s drummer Patrick Hallohan. Ending the set with the yet to be released track “Put Your Head Down,” all four members were allowed to show off their talents and the crowd was locked in and feeding the energy back on to the stage. As the song ended, Grace raised her guitar to her amp to produce some celebratory feedback, triumphantly letting it fall to the ground as Matt Burr javelin tossed his cymbal to the front of the stage. According to their website, the band’s next goal is to produce an album that “resonates with people the way Led Zeppelin II and III did.” Looks like this is no longer just a blues band from rural Vermont. They are clearly a rock band with something to prove.

For more info see:

Photos by Andrew

Related Content

Recent Posts

New to Glide

Keep up-to-date with Glide