The TLA in Philly hosted Grace Potter and the Nocturnals with Belle Brigade on March 11th, and it was a show that I won’t soon forget. A last minute change made me lucky enough to witness the raw energy that Potter and her crew put out! I had heard some of their stuff, but it is a totally different thing to see it performed live. The opening act, Belle Brigade put on an awesome show as well. The 2 acts definitely fit well together.
The Belle Brigade, featuring brother and sister Barbara and Ethan Gruska were the opening act only because someone had to play first. Meaning this band will soon be headlining on their own tour very very soon! From the sunny state of California this brother and sister group were not like any other opening act I’ve ever seen. Most of the time when the opening act comes out the crowd is like “who’s this?” and “are they done yet”. Not on this night, the Belle Brigade brought the crowd to frenzy. Their song “T-Shirt”, about how life is like an old t-shirt and can get old sometime, was a hit with the crowd. When Barbara took over the drums for a song, their drummer showed off his tambourine and dancing skills. After that, I knew I was in for a great night over all. I don’t think any other band could have kick started this night any better. Their debut CD The Belle Brigade will be out April 19th, and i’ll be sure to pick that up!
Grace Potter and the Nocturnals, or ‘GPN’ as they are affectionately known by their fans, put on a show like non other I have ever seen. The bands energy level was at 11 from start to finish. The best comparison I could give would be a Tina Turner show from the 70’s. Potter, with her Hedi Klum looks and her gravel voice captivated the crowd. Whether she was playing the piano, or one of her 2 different guitars she never skipped a beat. Scott Tournet, Catherine Popper, Matt Burr, and Benny Yurco; round out the rest of the band, which at the end of their set came back and did a 30 min Encore. Yes, a 30 min Encore which was better then many full sets from other bands I’ve seen!
Based out of Vermont the band has a Southern Blues type of sound. Which is hard to figure being that they are from Vermont. You really hear that sound on “Medicine”, from their new CD Grace Potter and the Nocturnals. At times almost sounding like country music, not pop country, but the country sound you hear when you’re in places like Nashville. Whatever they call their sound, they kill it. “Only Love” which featured Tournet shredding the guitar and Potter playing the piano, ripped the ceiling off the building. The crowd couldn’t contain themselves. From the 12 year old little girl to the 45 year old man, “GPN” had them hooked.
They ended their set with “Paris”, a song that easily rivals any legendary rock song from any decade. After being rocked with “Paris” the crowd couldn’t let them leave without a Encore. During that 30 min Encore, Potter and the Belle Brigade took a moment to pray for those affect by the days tragic earthquake. After that Potter and her crew tore the stage up once again!