review and photos by Daniel Maher, special to The City Wire
Those of you defeated by the diurnal urge to turn in early missed the Nocturnal’s knocking out a beat for Grace Potter to sing and dance the night away to.
At first blush you may take this band to be just another pretty face posing for some guys to rock and roll behind. A bit closer scrutiny reveals that Grace Potter is the genuine article — yes, sexy beyond measure, but loaded with vocal talent and energetic performance to match.
Performing on the eve of the release of their 4th record, The Lion, the Beast, and the Beat, Grace Potter and the Nocturnals were a tour de force at the Rib Room Thursday night (June 7).
This record is the follow-up to the self-titled Grace Potter and the Nocturnals (2010), This Is Somewhere (2007), and Nothing But The Water (2006).
All the hype you have heard about this band is not hype, they are the real deal. Their studio-like quality sound of their live performances is unparalleled. Even in the outdoor acoustics of the Rib Room this band delivered sound that was record quality — a tribute to Potter’s vocal ability and to the well honed skills of the Nocturnals.
They received a warm welcome to the Rib Room on a cool June evening in Fort Smith. The sold-out crowd was immediately drawn into the groove with “Goodbye Kiss.” Throughout the night songs off their new album were debuted.
“It is so good to be back in the Rib Room” Grace Potter told the crowd. “This is the kind of place I just can’t leave, I love it so much.”
Potter alternated between her flying-V guitar and the Hammond organ all night long and even in between tunes. Her dynamic presence on stage is truly something to behold.
During the well known song “Paris” they performed one of their signature moves in which every member of the band grabs a drum stick and takes a piece of the drum kit to strike. The crowd responded to the massive energy emanating from the stage.
They closed the night with an encore that included the title track of their new record “The Lion, the Beast, and the Beat” with lines such as: I found the heart of a lion in the belly of a beast/and have it in my hand/and I can feel/I can feel/feel the beat.
After experiencing Grace Potter there is no doubt that she can indeed feel the beat.
The final song of the night was dedicated to the Rib Room — a cover of “Happy” by the Rolling Stones. Potter did her best Mick Jagger imitation and the crowd swooned.
The band is known for a strong touring schedule. From Fort Smith, they play three straight nights from Springfield, Mo., to Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas, to Kansas City, Mo.
They will be in the neighborhood — and yes it’s worth considering a road trip for the experience.
Many say that this band came out of nowhere, but clearly they have been on the road for years and have perfected their craft. This is hard-earned and well deserved stardom in which they are now basking.
As they took their band-embraced final bow, one could only imagine that this exceptional band has outgrown this familiar venue. It was a fitting tribute to Neumeier’s Rib Room which gives many aspiring bands a place to grow and flourish.