The Tennessee Theatre was lucky enough to host the beautiful and talented Grace Potter and her band, The Nocturnals, last Friday, just two weeks after the release of their fourth studio album, "The Lion the Beast the Beat."
The band opened with the album's title track that builds from an aggressive almost war-like drum beat as Grace sings "I found the heart of a lion/ In the belly of the beast." A crunchy guitar lick driven by a heavy kick-drum interrupts this war-chant as the song comes into full-swing. Embracing her wild-child reputation, Grace sings throughout the song, "I'm running wild with the lion, the beast, the beat."
The Vermont band, known for their live shows and Potter's sexy and powerful stage presence, has also spent some time on the jam band circuit, supporting acts like Gov't Mule and moe. The band plays together with a confident fluidity that is apparent on songs like "Stop the Bus" off of their 2007 album This is Somewhere, moving between a mellow country chorus and syncopated rhythms, demonstrating this influence. Some other tracks played from the band's new album included "Timekeeper" on which Grace hopped on her Hammond B3 organ to play a dark but catchy riff and "The Divide," on which she picked up a Flying-V and sounds something like if Janis Joplin had written Led Zeppelin's "Kasmir."
After "The Divide," "Paris" was played to a packed, though not sold out, Tennessee Theater before the band went off-stage. The band didn't leave without an encore however, which was a fantastically grungy cover of ZZ Top's "Tush" with a much sexier delivery than the original, and the band's own "Medicine" completed the night.
Grace Potter and the Nocturnals' success since their eponymous album released in 2010 has been explosive, reaching top 20 on the Billboard charts. The same could be anticipated of this new album as the band puts a new spin on it's rock and country influences.
Grace and the Nocturnals are scheduled to tour nationally for most of the rest of the year. The band also made an appearance on Conan and aired a VH1 Storytellers episode in the last two weeks. As the press picks up and the Nocturnals hit the road it will be interesting to see how "The Lion the Beast the Beat" picks up momentum of its own.