By Michel Dussack
On June 14th, Grace Potter and The Nocturnals played a private show put together by Rolling Stone at Irving Plaza to celebrate the release of their fourth studio album, The Lion The Beast The Beat. Typically at shows like this, the crowd is a mix of industry people and a few fans who managed to win their way into the show through some contest. However, this crowd was different. The entire crowd seemed to be big fans of the band, singing words to some of the newer songs that were released just the day before and dancing throughout the entire set.
It’s also normal for bands to play abbreviated sets at shows like this, in fact when Cold War Kids played a private Rolling Stone show, the band was on stage for maybe 45 minutes at the most. Grace Potter and The Nocturnals however, delivered a full set that clocked in at nearly two hours and included newer material, older hits, and a pair of terrific covers.
When the band took the stage a bit after 9:30, they started off with ‘The Lion The Beast The Beat’ and ‘Never Go Back’ and it seemed that they would play the new album in full. However, they quickly moved into the single ‘Ah Mary’ from their second album and then reached back even further to ‘Sweet Hands’ from their debut. The night would continue in this manner of bouncing back and forth between new and old for the first thirteen songs. While the new album came out just a day before, the crowd responded positively to the material.
The end of the set however, is what Grace and her band seemed to have saved all their energy for. They started with arguably their biggest hit ‘Paris (Ooh La La)’ which transitioned into personal favorite ‘Medicine’, which featured an insanely long outro with multiple guitar solos and extended sing-alongs. The band thanked the crowd and Rolling Stone for throwing such an awesome party, and walked off the stage.
It wasn’t long though before they returned for an encore that continued to build on the high energy that was already running through the crowd. A psychedelically charged cover of Jefferson Airplane’s ‘White Rabbit’ opened the encore, before leading into ‘Nothing But The Water I & II’. The band thanked the crowd again with Grace adding that, “this one is really our last song I promise” before closing out the night with another cover – this time ‘Happy’ by The Rolling Stones, a perfect end for a show that undoubtedly left everyone in the crowd feeling that way.
Grace Potter and the Nocturnals today released their new album “The Lion The Beast The Beat.” The band kicked off their busy promotional week last night performing “Never Go Back” on Conan. This morning the band plays ABC’s Good Morning America and then heads up to Boston for an in-store signing at Boston’s Newbury Comics. The next night the band plays a record release concert in their hometown of Burlington, VT and it will be webcast live. Thursday, the band does an acoustic set in NYC before an in-store at Best Buy in Union Square and a private Rolling Stone sponsored concert. Friday, GPN performs on VH1′s Morning Buzz and the band’s VH1 Storytellers session airs on TV at night.
Grace Potter and the Nocturnals played the Bank of America Pavilion in Boston on Saturday night. Our photographer Jennifer Murtha (FromThePhotoPit.com) was there to get some great shots of Grace and the band. Check them out below and head over to www.gracepotter.com to see when the band will be in your area.
The music and legacy of ZZ TOP–“That Little ol’ Band from Texas,” that has been part of the world’s musical landscape for over 40 years–will be celebrated with the October 11th release of A TRIBUTE FROM FRIENDS.
The album, to be released by Show Dog-Universal Music, features 11 classic ZZ Top songs interpreted by top-flight artists working in a broad range of musical genres. All of the album’s tracks have been newly recorded, specifically for the project. These include Filter’s performance of “Gimme All Your Lovin’,” Grace Potter & The Nocturnals’ take on “Tush,” as well as Wyclef Jean’s “Rough Boy,” “Legs” from Nickelback and Wolfmother’s interpretation of “Cheap Sunglasses.”
The album kicks off with “Sharp Dressed Man,” from The M.O.B., Mick Fleetwood’s ad hoc group that includes fellow Fleetwood Mac founder John McVie as well as Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler and guitar great Jonny Lang. Fleetwood commented, “We’re delighted to honor ZZ Top this way. Their legacy, like that of the original Fleetwood Mac, is steeped in the blues we all love so much. I know that Steven and Jonny feel as strongly about their legacy as John and I do.”
After Billy F Gibbons, Dusty Hill and Frank Beard, the original–and continuing–members of ZZ Top were informed that A Tribute From Friends was in the offing, they issued the following statement:
“When we were told there was going to be a ZZ Top tribute album a while ago and logically asked, ‘Who are we paying tribute to?’ Then we found out that a bunch of great artists were paying tribute to us and we were in disbelief. For the past 40 or so years, all we’ve done is get out there and crank it and try to have a good time while doing so. To a great extent, we’ve succeeded since we’re still having a good time so that would be reward enough for ‘the same three guys playing the same three chords.’ Now comes A Tribute From Friends and we’re so delighted that our music resonates with these great musicians whom we so admire.”
A Tribute From Friends also includes “Waitin’ for the Bus/Jesus Just Left Chicago” by Daughtry, “Got Me Under Pressure” from Duff McKagan’s LOADED and Mastodon’s version of “Just Got Paid.” Coheed & Cambria contributed the anthemic “Beer Drinkers and Hell Raisers” while country superstar Jamey Johnson’s track is the seminal “La Grange.” Of their invitation to be a part of the album, lead singer Chris Daughtry said, “We were completely honored! A classic great band with amazing songs? We’re in!” And of ZZ Top’s music, “It’s classic! Simple chord progressions, great riffs with hooky choruses…very inspiring to a band like us.”
The co-executive producer of A Tribute From Friends is Carl Stubner, ZZ Top’s manager, who noted, “A Tribute From Friends underscores the legacy of ZZ Top in the most musical way possible and illustrates just how important Billy, Dusty and Frank have been to successive generations. It was a privilege to work with the pantheon of brilliant artists who contributed their efforts and so much love to this project.”
Since Billy, Dusty and Frank founded ZZ TOP on the last day of 1969, the band has been responsible for the worldwide sale of over 50 million records highlighted by many of the very same songs heard on A Tribute From Friends as well many others including “Sharp Dressed Man,” “Pearl Necklace,” “I’m Bad, I’m Nationwide,” “Tube Snake Boogie” and a score of smash hit albums that include the RIAA Diamond Award winning (10 million sold) Eliminator as well as gold and platinum winners Afterburner, Fandango!, Deguello, Recycler, Antenna, El Loco, Tejas, Tres Hombres plus compilation sets. Their hit repertoire, iconic and award-winning videos and massive touring schedule has made them a favorite with audiences throughout the world and beyond – they previewed a track from their forthcoming album aboard the Soyuz space vehicle. They are recipients of the Texas Cultural Trust’s 2011 Texas Medal of the Art and had previously been named “Official Texas Heroes” by the state’s House of Representatives. They were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame by Keith Richards of the Rolling Stones in 2004 who cited the band’s remarkable consistency and longevity and, first and foremost, the fact that ZZ Top is “steeped in the blues,” calling them “the heartbeat of the whole country and the heartbeat of rock ‘n’ roll.”
A TRIBUTE FROM FRIENDS – TRACK LISTING
1. “Sharp Dressed Man” – The M.O.B. (Mick Fleetwood, Steven Tyler, Jonny Lang & John McVie)
2. “Gimme All Your Lovin’” – Filter
3. “Tush” – Grace Potter & The Nocturnals
4. “Legs” – Nickelback
5. “Cheap Sunglasses” – Wolfmother
6. “Got Me Under Pressure” – Duff McKagan’s LOADED
7. “Beer Drinkers and Hell Raisers” – Coheed & Cambria
8. “Just Got Paid” – Mastodon
9. “Rough Boy” – Wyclef Jean
10. “Waitin’ for the Bus / Jesus Just Left Chicago” – Daughtry
11. “La Grange” – Jamey Johnson
There’s a little bit of Paris and a lot of rock & roll when Hollywood Records recording group Grace Potter & the Nocturnals visit with Daryl Hall for the 45th and latest edition of Live From Daryl’s House, premiering Aug. 15 exclusively at www.lfdh.com. This month’s installment of the Webby and MTV O Music award-winning Internet series, which last year made its national television broadcast debut on WGN America to impressive ratings, will feature Potter, a collision of Tina Turner sass and vintage retro-glam, fronting the soul-infused, classic rock outfit with a decidedly modern bent. Formed at upstate New York’s St. Lawrence University, based in Vermont, Grace Potter & the Nocturnals have received numerous critical accolades, including being named One of the Best Bands of 2010 by Rolling Stone magazine.
The group’s self-titled album, their third major label release, produced by Mark Batson [Dave Matthews Band], featured the hit single “Paris (Ooh La La),” and debuted in the Top 20 on Billboard’s Top 200, reaching #1 on the iTunes Rock Album chart. GPN, known for playing over 200 shows a year, have built a loyal, dedicated fan base across the U.S. from their incendiary live concerts.
Potter recently made a special solo appearance at Los Angeles’s famed Hollywood Bowl, performing with Stevie Wonder, Sharon Jones and Janelle Monáe, among others. This summer, GPN made their debut on Bonnaroo’s main stage as well as at this year’s Lollapolooza festival in Chicago. The band will promote their first-ever Grand Point North Festival in Burlington, VT, on Aug. 13-14, then cap it all with a headlining show in New York’s Central Park Sept. 24.
The N.Y. Post called a recent GPN live show “…a sizzling concert… the performance was a gripping moment in music where a girl and her band (who’ve enjoyed critical and cult admiration) showed they could hold their own with the biggest acts in music.”
“Playing in Daryl Hall’s living room is like stepping into a rock and roll time machine,” raved Grace. “And then they feed you, which is awesome. Daryl went above and beyond to make us feel welcome; even satiating my eternal thirst for old guitars and good wine. He’s a class act.”
GPN joined Daryl to perform five songs from their self-titled release, including the serrated rock “Paris (Ooh La La),” which they performed recently on VH1’s Divas telecast, along with “Money,” “Goodbye Kiss,” “Low Road” and “Things I Never Needed.”
Hall and the band also collaborated on “Room to Breathe,” a 1976 classic written by Daryl, which appeared on the Bigger Than the Both of Us album, as well as a soaring cover of Jimmy Cliff’s reggae classic, “Many Rivers to Cross.”
Says Daryl: “Grace and the Nocturnals have the kind of classic-rock influences–including The Band, Little Feat, JJ Cale, Neil Young, Joni Mitchell, Van Morrison and Bob Dylan—that are very familiar to me, having experienced that era. We had a great time playing together.”
The past four years have marked a steady stream of superlatives and recognition for Live from Daryl’s House, with Hall receiving a Webby Award for Best Variety series from more than 10,000 entries before garnering an O Music Award from MTV earlier this year.
The 44 previous episodes of Live From Daryl’s House have featured a mix of well-known performers Booker T Jones, Rob Thomas, Train, Smokey Robinson, The Doors’ Robby Krieger and Ray Manzarek, Toots Hibbert, Nick Lowe, K.T. Tunstall, Todd Rundgren, Travie McCoy, Dave Stewart, Goo Goo Dolls’ John Rzeznik and Fall Out Boy’s Patrick Stump along with newcomers such as Mayer Hawthorne, Eric Hutchinson, Chromeo, Cash Money rocker Kevin Rudolf, Matt Nathanson, Parachute, Plain White T’s, Eli “Paperboy” Reed, soul diva Sharon Jones, Diane Birch, L.A. neo-R&B party band Fitz & the Tantrums, hot new alternative band Neon Trees and veteran alternative mainstays Guster.
Daryl launched the free monthly web series in November, 2007, after having the light-bulb idea of “playing with my friends and putting it up on the Internet,” and the show has since garnered acclaim from Rolling Stone, SPIN, Daily Variety, CNN, BBC, Yahoo! Music and influential blogger Bob Lefsetz, who have cited Live From Daryl’s House as a perfect example of a veteran artist reinventing himself in the digital age by collaborating with both established and newer performers. The show marked its broadcast debut New Year’s Eve on Superstation WGN America, where it improved ratings for the time period by almost 75%.
Daryl also recently performed a live version of the show with friend and former LFDH guest, Todd Rundgren, to a sold out venue in Atlantic City.
There’s no better way to people psyched about Bonnaroo than with a tour featuring some of the most talked about up and coming bands playing the Festival next month. The tour, headlined by Grace Potter and the Nocturnals kicked off last week at the Stone Pony in Asbury Park, NJ. Our photographer Ashton Popiel (AshtonPopiel.com) was there and got some great shots of the band. Check them out below and go to gracepotter.com for more tour dates.