Written by Bill Whiting
Photos by Scott Preston
Grace Potter and The Nocturnals chose early January 2013 to return to Cincinnati, Ohio with a headlining concert at the Taft Theatre. Potter and the Nocturnals have been steady road warriors since their inception in 2002, and Cincinnati has been rewarded with a hefty helping of their performances from the very beginning. On January 11, Potter and the Nocturnals chose to focus their efforts on their recent, hard rocking project, The Lion, The Beast, The Beat. Opening with the title track, Potter mixed it up onstage with guitarists Scott Tournet and Benny Yurco. The second number from the The Lion, The Beast, The Beat, ” Never Go Back” showcased the tight rhythm section of Michael Libramento on bass guitar, and the incredible Matt Burr on drums. Potter and co. were on a roll, choosing material that kept a taut, swinging pace to the festivities, and “Ah Mary” proved an appropriate, riveting selection to follow the newer compositions. Going back to 2005’s Nothing But the Water, Potter held her audience in rapt adoration as she crooned to them on the soulful, blues number, “Treat Me Right.” Returning to The Lion, The Beast, The Beat, Libramento’s powerful bass lines took
center stage alongside Burr’s massive percussion attack on the beguiling masterwork, “Runaway.” Potter eased back with a reference to Willie Nelson before singing the gentle lines of the poignant ballad, “Ragged Company” from Nothing But the Water. A request from the Cincinnati faithful had Potter and the Nocturnals turning an inspiring and electrified phrase on the buoyant classic, “Stars.” The great thing about a Grace Potter and the Nocturnals event is the ensemble’s choice of bold and unpredictable covers. In Cincinnati, Grace, along with Tournet and Yurco lit the stage on fire with molten guitar soloing on the midsection’s radically jamming gem, the Neil Young slow burner, “Down By the River.” It was a memorable, show stopping moment. Turning to 2010’s self titled disc, the band continued to flow effortlessly through the pulsating shifts and spins of the swirling marvel, “Oasis.” Ending the set with a nod to 2007, and This is Somewhere’s “Stop the Bus,” Grace Potter and the Nocturnals left the stage to an overwhelming standing ovation. Playing the keyboards, Potter nailed the first encore, “Apologies,” before the Nocturnals coalesced around a fiery, gospel tinged take on the two part title track from Nothing But the Water. Pounding out the rock and roll bravado of “Paris (Ooh La La),” Potter and the Nocturnals had the Taft’s denizens dancing, and shouting the lyrics back towards the stage. The second encore found Potter grooving, and belting out the bracing closer, “Medicine.” Grace Potter and the Nocturnals left their indelible mark in 2013 with a moving and entertaining headlining evening at Cincinnati’s Taft Theatre on January 11.