Grace Potter and the Nocturnals are a band on the upswing. Enormously popular in Vermont from their first album, it’s been quite something to have seen a band go from playing small gigs around town to major venues across the country. With their latest album, The Lion The Beast The Beat now out, the band is reaching new heights.
The group’s self-titled ‘debut’ landed two years ago, which came after three prior albums (two independantly produced – Original Soul and Nothing But Water – and their first under a major record label, This Is Somewhere), and was a mixed affair. The production was great, but the album was lacking some of that energy and whimsey that really made heads turn. This latest album still has the major record label fingerprints but they’ve delivered a superb album that captures Grace’s fantastic voice much better. It’s a strong album, and bodes well for their future.
In a way, The Lion the Beast the Beat is Grace personified. All of her albums have felt deeply personal, but this one makes the jump over to the singer as a literal mechanical component: a vinyl record. Turntable is a sexually charged number that puts Grace spinning around a record player, while Never Goes Back brings in the idea that a person’s life can be scratched just like a record can be.
There’s a lot to love in this album with a lot of variety. Title track, The Lion the Beast the Beat perfectly mirror the energy that you’ll see at one of their live shows, while Never Goes Back feels much like a throwback to the 1980s and Stars shows out her country influences nicely. There’s others still, like Loneliest Soul that are just strange and very different from her usual sound, but very fun to listen to. At the center of it all is Grace Potter and her fantastic voice, which runs up and down the register effortlessly.
There’s a little big of everything on The Lion The Beast The Beat, and the entire album feels like it’s moved from the safe territory that their last album seemed to drift to. Potter’s music has always felt like it’s a bit on the edge, and it’s nice to see them back to having a bit of fun.
Wow, what a fantastic concert. That’s about all I can say. It was the first time that I’d seen Grace Potter & The Nocturnals in person, and man, they didn’t let me down at all.
They opened up with a bang with Ah Mary and Stop the Bus, then went through a bunch of the other songs from their latest album, with the fantastic Apologies, Lose Some Time and ended up with Big White Gate. They left the stage, and came on again for a second set, this time of favorites, with Farmer John, the Beatles’s Come Together, If I Was From Paris, Eyes on You and Neil Young’s Cortez the Killer, all pretty much one long jam session that just blew the audience away. She mentioned that If I Was From Paris didn’t make it onto the album, and that it’s one of her favorite songs – It’ll be available when the record comes out, although it is on iTunes as a bonus track. She also mentioned that the song Falling or Flying was featured on Grey’s Anatomy, and that they’ve caught some flack for that. It’s interesting to see how far a local Vermonter has really gone.
The band was also loud. I have some doubts that my hearing will return at all this week.
Grace sounds amazing in person. Her voice is a bit higher than I would have thought from the record, and the speakers just couldn’t keep up with their sound, but man, they’ve got as much energy as a rocket and they really sustained it throughout, all the way to the end. Welcome home, Nocturnals. We know you’re home, you’ve awakened the neighbors, and what a fantastic way to ring in the new album. Can’t wait to see her again on the 19th.
Stop the Bus
Ain’t No Time
You May See Me
Lose Some Time
Here’s to the Meantime
Falling or Flying
Big White Gate
Unknown – “Girls Say Yeah”
Come Together (The Beatles)
If I Was From Paris
Eye On You
Cortez The Killer (Neil Young)
Second day on the job. I’m currently on my lunch break, and I’ve started getting more intigrated with the program a bit, easing into life here.
The school’s issued me a laptop to use (which I’m using right now), which is pretty spiffy. I’ve got a desk, phone, no phone number yet, and a bunch of random items to work on. I’ll be getting new tasks later on as the weeks go on a bit, and I’m looking forwards to it.
And, I’m seeing Grace Potter and the Nocturnals later on tonight, a special show that Pure Pop is doing, which should be pretty cool. I’ll have to remember my camera. And hope that my car stops smelling like a skunk. I think I clipped one on the road last night.
The Higher Ground is a really nice concert venue here in Vermont. They attract quite a few mid-level singers and bands, and have had some incredible shows throughout the year. I’ve missed a couple already this year – K.T. Tunstall played earlier this year, while I was working, and Great Big Sea played the week before I returned from London.
What’s awesome is that they have Carbon Leaf coming back again, on October 23rd, which is a Monday. Great, okay. But wait, I looked closer at the schedule:
10-30 – Amos Lee
10-31 – Mike Doughty
11-19 – James Hunter
12-29 – 12-31 – Grace Potter and the Nocternals.
James Hunter, I might/probably will skip. I like his music, but I’ve really only listened to one or two songs. Amos Lee and Mike Doughty however, both incredible artists, and back to back. Amos Lee I really, really, really want to see. And Grace Potter, well, hopefully I’ll be able to see her. I love her music.