Volume: Grace Potter & The Nocturnals – House of Blues, Dallas, TX – 02/18/11
“You always want to leave each city with a little something. So I’m gonna sprinkle some magic dust on you, Dallas, and make sure every one of you motherf*ckers comes to see me next time we’re here!” charmingly exclaimed Grace Potter to a (finally) ecstatic sold out audience near the end of her show last night. Although Potter and her band The Nocturnals had been blowing the doors off House of Blues for over an hour and a half, Dallas was its usual nonchalant self.
A vibrant performer, Grace Potter had tried earlier to convince the crowd to let loose and dance with the abandon she herself was showing, as if she needed to remind us she was there to party with us, not for us. Fortunately, the lack of enthusiasm at the front of the floor coupled with the perceptible disregard near the bar for the band did not deter Ms. Potter from turning in an electrifying mix of rock, blues, country and soul.
This being the third time I had seen her, it was the first time I had seen her as headliner, which is an entirely different experience. Without constraints, Grace Potter & The Nocturnals are able to experiment and soar, pulling out songs from their entire catalog, not giving the performance of a band attempting to hock a new (or recent) album. Presenting only about half of their self-titled 2010 breakthrough, including “Medicine”, “Only Love”, and “Paris (Ooh La La)”, Potter led her band through a genre hopping set that would see them switch gears from barn burning swirling extended jams to all an all acoustic middle section in the blink of an eye – much more diverse than their energetic performance at 2010’s Austin City Limits Music Festival.
Throughout the 100 minute set, Potter would man the organ, tackle her Flying V and acoustic guitars, and stalk her stage. Yes, she owned it. All the while putting on a SHOW slinging her hair and dancing like it was her last time, tearing through the Dallas crowd in a way that should make them feel shame. Interjecting a couple of playful covers, such as the duet with Kenny Chesney, “You and Tequila” (guitarist Scott Burnet playing the part of Chesney, complete with borrowed cowboy hat), and a rousing rendition of the Heart classic “Crazy On You” rounded out the stellar performance.
Show openers, Dallas’ own Jonathan Tyler and Northern Lights were much more entertaining than when I had seen them before. The heirs apparent to fill the void we are evidently left with the dismissal of The Black Crowes, Tyler and The Northern Lights have their act down, and any fan of good old southern inspired blues/soul drenched rock-n-roll should take note.
Regardless of a lack of dancing, or even paying attention, you can bet the magic dust Grace Potter left in Dallas will have effect. One thing’s for sure: no one left House of Blues last night disappointed.