“When you come to see the Nocturnals, you’re not gonna get some half-assed, bullshit version of a show where we traipse off-stage after 45 minutes,” Grace Potter announced to the sold-out crowd at La Zona Rosa Saturday night somewhere after the 90-minute mark. Pushing the show an extra 30 minutes, Grace and company made sure that people got their money’s worth – even those who paid the ridiculously high scalper prices.
Focusing on the music, the Nocturnals – Benny Yurco and Scott Tournet on guitars, Catherine Popper on bass and Matt Burr on drums – frequently wandered off into slightly-too-extended instrumental jams with Grace vocalizing along to solos and leaving ample time for high-energy dancing.
About Grace – when we first saw her live, she controlled the stage. Now she dominates it, as if reaching out and grabbing the audience’s attention with her voice and a presence that is just a notch above flirtation. She even managed to get the entire room sitting down for a brief story during the encore.
Throughout the performance they mixed up their songs, offering a nice sampling of their recordings and styles with rockers (“Paris,” “Hot Summer Night”), blues (“2:22”, “Sugar”) and a little gospel (“Nothing But the Water,” “Big White Gate”).
An acoustic segment including “One Short Night” and “Things I Never Needed” offered yet another facet of auditory delight.
“We’re going to borrow this next song, it doesn’t belong to us but it’s like clothing,” Grace explained before “Golden.” “And no one looks as good in this song as My Morning Jacket but we try it on anyway.”
Making sure to turn even to those newly-introuduced to the band into believers of her vocal prowess, she threw in an ambitious but spot-on cover of Heart’s “Crazy On You.”
Grace said that Austin had cast a spell over them though they set out to cast a spell over Austin. With all the magic floating around they could have played another hour, pushing their two-hour set into a Springsteen-level marathon and still had a captivated audience. And we wish they had.
It’s Only Love
Big White Gate
One Short Night (acoustic)
Things I Never Needed (acoustic)
Golden (My Morning Jacket cover)
Nothing But the Water Pt. 1
Hot Summer Night
Crazy On You (Heart cover)
Nothing But The Water Pt. 2
(Not to overlook Jonathan Tyler and the Northern Lights, the Dallas-based opening act, they simply didn’t have a long enough set to get into a groove and realize their full potential that particular night. But we enjoyed their music anyway.)
Photos by Nichole Wagner