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Concert Reviews:
Grace Potter & the Nocturnals roar long and loud in Royal Oak
 

By GARY GRAFF
For Journal Register Newspapers

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ROYAL OAK -- "I hope you came here in a spirit of happiness," Grace Potter told the crowd at the Royal Oak Music Theatre on Thursday night, January 17.

And rest assured that anyone who didn't come feeling that way likely had their mood turned around during the rocking two-hour set by Potter and her band, the Nocturnals.

Over its 10-years together, the quintet -- a product of the jam band world that's enjoyed some country and pop crossover thanks to Potter's hit 2011 duet with Kenny Chesney on "You and Tequila" -- has honed its live performance into a musical maelstrom that never ebbs and cuts no quarter. And that's a good thing. Potter and company come out swinging hard on Thursday, with the bombastic title track from their latest album, "The Lion The Beast The Beat," and didn't let up until the final strains of the Rolling Stones' "Gimme Shelter," which certainly had the Royal Oak fans imploring Potter to give them even more.

This was not mere bludgeoning, however; there was an impressive dynamic range to Potter and the Nocturnals' set, from the danceable pop groove of "Never Go Back" to the surf-styled rock of "Turntable," the funky dynamics of "Runaway" and the metallic histrionics of "Sugar." "Oasis" and "Nothing But the Water" were extended into long, ferocious jams, while all five musicians wound up playing drums in a tribal exposition towards the end of "Medicine."

There were some surprises and rare treats, too. Besides covering Beyonce's "Why Don't You Love Me," Potter -- who had solicited fan requests online for this leg of her Roar Tour -- dug deep into the catalog for rarities such as "Belladonna" and "Roulette," while the bluesy "Low Road" was dedicated to a fan named Jamie, who was celebrating her birthday on Thursday.

An emotive rendering of the single "Stars" was the show's lone ballad moment, while "Paris (Ooh La La)" and "Gimme Shelter" finished the night back on the uptempo -- punctuating the infectious, joyful spirit that made Potter's show a standout we'll probably still be talking about at the end of the year.

Send your thoughts and comments to Gary Graff

 



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