Grace Potter & the Nocturnals - Fox Theater - June 7, 2013
Invariably, the first word that comes to mind when describing Grace Potter is "badass." The Vermont native did plenty to demonstrate her badassery during her performance at the Fox Theater in Pomona on Friday.
Admittedly, my first encounter with Grace Potter and the Nocturnals was hearing their decidedly pop anthem, "Paris (Ooh La La)". A hot blonde singing about what she would do if she was from Paris--okay.
But of course my snap judgement was far off and I'm so happy for it. The first time I realized she was a badass was seeing her perform on Conan O'Brien. She was looking beautiful, sure, but she blew me away not with her looks, but with the Flying V guitar she whipped out and shredded on.
And she continued her badass performance at the Fox. It's not only her beauty, but her versatility that makes her live shows memorable ones. She's an incredibly strong vocalist, at times, a rockstar, a gentle yet adept piano player, and a fierce frontwoman. For a woman that wears so many hats on stage, she pulls it off seamlessly.
Even for a gal who's all woman, she showed off her mortal side around song four by announcing that she was taking off her heels ("This might be a little early to be doing this, but the shoes are coming off," she said. "'Cuz I have a feeling it's going to be a wild night.")
And what a wild night it was. Grace bounced skillfully between the microphone, the Flying V, the piano and of course, playing the rockstar.
She announced that all of her setlist of the night was compiled from requests she got from fans online. The night was relatively roomy (the whole balcony was shut off and the seated seats were moved down to white folding chairs on the terrace), and though I hope Grace and the Fox made their money back, as a fan, I enjoyed the elbow room.
One great surprise was their cover of "Seven Nation Army" by the White Stripes. As soon as that iconic bass line ripped through the audience, they began to clap in time. It was a loyal cover, but Grace's explosive vocals and the full band sound really amped it up.
Then came "Paris (Ooh La La)". She didn't even have to sing the chorus--the crowd took care of that for her. Toward the end of the song, the whole band converged on the drum kit, beating it fiercely for a wonderful cacophony. They slowed down for their final song--"The Divide" before slinking off stage.
They returned for an encore with "Stars" which Grace explained was written for a friend of hers who died. Star-like lights were projected on stage during the chorus and the night ended on a somewhat somber tone. Grace Potter & the Nocturnals rocked us, rolled us, then let us go softly.
Critic's Bias: Grace Potter stole my heart the first time I saw her in 2012.
The Crowd: A variety of ages, races, and styles. Even the middle aged-dude that took too much (presumably) acid. A powerful voice transcends audiences.