by Jeff Niesel
Last night at House of Blues, Grace Potter and the Nocturnals finished off their lively two-hour set with “I’ll Be Your Medicine,” a high-energy rock number that served as a metaphor for Potter’s appeal. “I got the medicine that everybody wants,” Potter sang over and over during the song’s furious conclusion. Yes, Potter has that rock ’n’ roll “medicine” that makes her such a magnetic performer. Showing off a bit of cleavage and wearing a sexy, super-short skirt, the leggy singer has a powerful voice that echoes Janis Joplin’s. And she’s got charisma to spare as she regularly thanked the audience for its enthusiasm and joked about how many drunk people she spotted in the crowd. She even took time out to sing "Happy Birthday" to a member of her crew. Yes, she's got charm to spare.
The concert began with a serious bang as Potter hammered away at her Flying V guitar while delivering the title track from her latest album, The Lion The Beast The Beat. And yet, it definitely hit some bumps along the way as the middle of the set suggested her songwriting chops might still need work. Many of the mid-set songs just weren't memorable enough. Despite the mid-set lag, Potter and crew started to recover with “Apologies,” a catchy number that’s one of the band’s biggest hits. That built up to “Paris (Ooh La),” a rambunctious sing-a-long that Potter clearly enjoyed singing. Her encore included a rendition of Elton John’s “Rocket Man” that featured opener Rayland Baxter, who wore one of Potter’s glittering jackets for the occasion, on backing vocals. The aforementioned Baxter started the show off with a set of mid-tempo rock tunes that he regularly turned into extended jams. While Baxter sat for most of the performance, his gentle vocals and easy-going demeanor (consider him a redneck Pete Yorn) made up for his lack of on-stage energy. After his performance, he worked his merch booth in the lobby, selling copies of his new album and chatting with fans. You gotta like that.