Thursday October 29, 2015
Grace Potter returned to Albany NY last Thursday night to the Palace Theatre. While the show wasn't sold-out (Dead and Company were playing down the road at the Times Union Arena) there was a respectable crowd in attendance. Potter has changed her musical style from a hard rocker to a dancing queen promoting her current "Midnight" album. She could always dance but in previous years her focus seemed to be on playing her Hammond B3 or her guitars (she still does throw in some blistering guitar work on her Gibson Signature Flying V and plays a couple of songs on the B3.)
"Midnight" dropped in August on the Hollywood Record label. It was recorded and mixed at Barefoot Studios in Hollywood with producer Eric Valentine. The core studio band consisted of Potter and Valentine on most of the instruments, with Matt Burr on drums and percussion.
In addition, members of Potter’s longtime band The Nocturnals: guitarists Scott Tournet and Benny Yurco and bassist Michael Libramento contributed to the sessions, as well as former tour-mates and friends including singer-songwriter Rayland Baxter, Audra Mae, Noelle Skaggs of Fitz & the Tantrums, Wayne Coyne of The Flaming Lips, and Nick Oliveri of Queens of the Stone Age.
The "Magical Midnight Road Show" tour band is a mix of a couple of old Nocturnal members: Potter, Burr (until three weeks ago-unsure of the reason for Matt Burr's sudden departure), and Yurco and a few new bandmates-Matt Musty on drums, Eliza Hardy Jones-keyboard and vocals, Timothy Deaux-bass, Daiki Hirano-percussion and Ben Allenman-guitars, keyboards, vocals.
Her style on this tour seems to be focused on a dance/pop vibe with a small offering of her searing flying v centered rock songs. In addition to the new members on stage with her, she's added an extensive light show.
I first saw Grace in Albany NY at the Alive at Five show in 2009 (https://photosbynanci.smugmug.com/GracePotter/2009/Alive-at-Five/) bassist Cat Popper had just joined the band replacing Bryan Dondero.
For her next gig in Albany she moved up the street and indoors to The Egg 2013 (https://photosbynanci.smugmug.com/GracePotter/2013/GPN-The-Egg-Albany/) with Michael Libramento on bass.
This time in Albany she played at The Palace Theater.
On this current tour I've witnessed three performances: two in Burlington VT at the Grand Point North Festival in September and this one in Albany. I really miss the old songs that highlighted her songwriting, B3 organ and guitar playing and amazing vocal range.
Citing Miles Davis, Bob Dylan, the Beatles, Bowie, Blondie and Beck as prime examples, Potter says she is drawn to artists who make sonic leaps from record to record—a notion she has explored throughout her career. I think is admirable but I think at the live shows the artist should focus on their past successes and pepper in the new material.
If you've never seen a GPN (Grace Potter and the Nocturnals) show you will love this tour's Grace Potter shows; she will leave you hoarse, your hands sore from clapping and your feet sore from dancing. But if you've watched Potter grow as an artist on stage as I have (60 shows under my belt) I can't help but think you may miss the old Grace belting out the songs that put her on everyone's radar as much as I do.
Albany 10/29/2015 Setlist
Never Go Back
Nobody's Born With a Broken Heart
Nothing but the Water (I) (Grace Potter & the Nocturnals song) > band intros
Look What We've Become
Hot To The Touch
Turntable>I Put a Spell on You > Turntable
Amazing Grace >
I Shall Be Released
The Lion The Beast The Beat
More Images from the show: https://photosbynanci.smugmug.com/GracePotter/2015/Palace-Theatre-Albany-NY/
More images of Grace through the years: http://photosbynanci.smugmug.com/GracePotter
My Grace Potter Video Playlist: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL2A1CA23C815AB52B