Last Night: Grace Potter & The Nocturnals At House Of Blues
For more totally tasteful pictures from Thursday, see our slideshow here.
Ooh la la.
Aftermath is going to be real up front here. We did not know a whole lot about Grace Potter & the Nocturnals going into Thursday's show at House of Blues. Just what we had read, that the band was some sort of retro-soul throwback and the singer was rumored to be a bit of a looker.
Then we watched the YouTube clip for "Paris (Ooh La La)," from the band's self-titled 2010 album, and... damn. It's almost a dead ringer for one of our favorite songs ever, especially lately, En Vogue's "Free Your Mind." And, yeah, Potter is hot. So is Catherine Popper, her brunette bassist.
Get over it. We did. Eventually.
Aftermath does not think we are telling tales out of school to suggest that had Potter had not gone into music, she might be making a tidy living strutting down various Paris, Milan and New York catwalks. As difficult as it was to concentrate on anything but her skyscraper heels and seriously short kimono-dress - Twiggy wore longer frocks - when she came out around 9:15 p.m., she made it a whole lot easier when she started to sing.
We are not familiar with Potter's religious beliefs (if she has any), but she's got the kind of breath control and copper-plated pipes that could win her a soloist spot in any gospel choir in America. Her comment that slow and swampy opener "Joey" was about "bad boys" made us wonder if she might be a preacher's kid. During the high-kicking (literally) funk-rock of "Only Love," that question quickly changed to how on Earth she got left out of the tribute to actual preacher's kid Aretha Franklin at last Sunday's Grammys.
Don't get us wrong, Aftermath loves us some Queen of Soul, but in our ears Aretha takes a hard back seat to the ever-underappreciated Ann Peebles. So after the Bo Diddley/Traffic rave-up "Sweet Hands" and sunny reggae tune "Goodbye Kiss," when the Nocturnals lit into a sultry groove that was a kissin' cousin to Peebles' "I'm Gonna Tear Your Playhouse Down," we swooned so hard we might as well have folded up our notebook then and there.
But we didn't, and came to a surprising epiphany during the subsequent acoustic portion of the evening. Potter is obviously a star, even if only her manager, booking agent, and rapidly growing circle of fans knows it yet. But as steeped as she is in soul, R&B and '60s rock, her big break could come in country, of all places.