John Kahane (jkahane) wrote,
John Kahane

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Ottawa Bluesfest Review: Grace Potter and the Nocturnals

Home from work and taking a chance to post this slight review of last night's concert.

What concert, you ask? Well, last night I went to the RBC Royal Bank Ottawa Bluesfest to catch Grace Potter and the Nocturnals doing their thing.

I'm not going to talk about the Bluesfest venue, other than to say that it's cleaner and a bit tidier than other festival sites that I've been to and heard/read about. Which may not be saying much. That said, the place was pretty much working its way to being a wreck and disaster area by the time I left the venue just after 7:15 pm, and I assume that it was much worse by the time everyone at concerts and performances last night left the venue. But enough of that.

Grace Potter has been on the music scene for some time, since 2002 if I remember correctly, but it wasn't until 2005 that she joined forces with a bunch of guys, called the band Grace Potter and the Nocturnals, and released their self-made first album, Nothing But the Water. I first heard a track from the band's album, called "Treat Me Right", and fell in love with the singer's powerful, full of emotion voice, and the music inspired by the late '60s and early '70s. Grace Potter and the Nocturnals have released three other albums since then (the lastest in 2012), and I've loved each one they've done, as each album has a different feel and sound to it, but still retains that GPN (as they're called for short) sound. I introduced KathyB to the band's music several years ago, and she really liked it. But we'd never seen Grace and the boys in concert. Until last night.

Given the sheer backlog of music material they've got, as well as some of the covers they do of other performers' works during their live shows, I was shocked that GPN only had a 45-minute set for their music. That said, I needn't have worried. GPN turned in a dynamite, energy-filled show, with Grace Potter's seeming commitment to give us rock 'n roll, among other things. It was a terrific show, to be honest, full of the band's showcasing each other's strengths, and music that just makes one feel good and want to dance (which I did). Grace Potter herself is a gorgeous blonde singer reminiscent in some ways of Janis Joplin and Grace Slick, who unleashed a wail that honoured those two to start the show, and she wasn't afraid of the effects of humidity and sweat on her hair, and had the energy that such a show demands.

Image courtesy of the Ottawa Citizen

The band opened the show with the wonderfully raucous first single from their third album, "Medicine", and gave it the energy that such a hot, sweaty night in Ottawa demanded of it. The 45-minute set continued with other tracks, including one of my favourites, "Stop the Bus", a very good version of "Turntable", as well as terrific versions of a couple of other tracks, including a superb "The Lion The Beast The Beat", and a swaggering version (only word I can use to describe it) of Neil Young's "Cinnamon Girl" that I wish I had been able to record just to have a copy of it. The set list was terrific, and limited due to the time slot that GPN had to perform, but they delivered a sweet, hot, rock 'n roll batch of music. There were some songs I wish GPN had played, such as "Mr. Columbus", "Mastermind", and "Ragged Company", but... WOW!! Just a great show.

The only thing that could have made it better would have been a cooler night. The musicians and the music were hot enough, thanks. :)
Tags: concert, grace potter, music hut, ottawa bluesfest, personal, review

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