Grace Potter and the Nocturnals @ Bricktown Center
It’s been a month since I trekked up to Oklahoma City with Cranberry Scone to enjoy a blissful evening with the Avett Brothers. I had been told beforehand to get ready for the opener, Grace Potter and the Nocturnals. Even at first glance, this band was intriguing. Gold-haired front-woman in a sparkling silver mini dress, surrounded by scruffy-bearded, mustached, Lennon-hair men in black suits. Delicious. The complex guitar rifts started, Potter opened her mouth, and the soulful sexiness set the tone.
This wasn’t the normal line-up – bassist Catherine Popper (formerly with Ryan Adams & the Cardinals) was MIA with a temporary replacement. The music has a tendency to take you back to the 70s — a decade Potter would likely be comfortable in — while staying relevant and fresh. She has an infectious energy the entire band seems to share. It was a true rock-n-soul live show, complete with an all 5-member drum session to end the night. The Avetts choose a great opener, it ran the energy level up to an almost Avett-Brother-high, something hard to accomplish considering their performances.
“Paris” is the obvious title track, a heavy slow-burner that instantly shows off everything the band has to offer. Insane guitar riffs with an explosive voice. Potter explain on her website that “It was the first time I ever really just said, ‘I’m not going to try to tell a story, and I’m not going to try to communicate an emotion. I’m just going to say, basically, “I want to have sex right now.”‘ They move into the pop realm with songs like “One Short Night” and “Goodbye Kiss.” “Things I Never Needed” sounds like Reba McEntire circa ’86. “Medicine” is definitely channeling Tina Turner. She wrote “Color” right after Obama got elected, with the lyrics “I don’t want to build a wall, Or draw a line across the sand, Because there’s room for one and all, And this land is our land, Oh I hope this can go on and on and on.” Grace Potter and the Nocturnals likes to shrug off the labels, and just play good music.
All I can say is my official new workout method is going to be dancing in 4-inch high heels.
Words and photos by Anna “HashBrowns” Vernon.