Grace Potter and the Nocturnals with Tea Leaf Green
20th Century Theater
June 6, 2007
Opening their show with Tea Leaf Green at Cincinnati, Ohio’s 20th Century Theater on June 6, Grace Potter and the Nocturnals came to the stage with bounding energy, driven by drummer Matt Burr’s pounding intensity. Touring behind Nothing But the Water, Potter and the Nocturnals energized the small yet rabid early evening patrons with a set steeped in blues, gospel and rock music.
Potter reached back into a treasure trove of material, banging on the keys of her piano and Hammond B-3. The upper registers of her booming vocals bounced around the back of the room as Bryan Dondero’s bass lines connected with Burr’s shuffle patterns to work the rhythmic magic inherent in an ode to bad boys on "Joey." Scott Tournet’s razor like guitar leads sliced through Potter’s sharp vocal attack, adding fresh menace to the call and response masterwork, "Nothing But the Water."
Tea Leaf Green occupied the late night set slot, expanding upon a broad canvass of loosely improvised riffs and tight, compact harmonic compositions. The San Francisco quartet hypnotized the room with a gently swaying mixture of tight blues and powerful, epic jams that fed off of Scott Rager’s propulsive drum clinic and Ben Chamber’s undulating bass workouts. Josh Clark offered strength in feedback and distortion on lead electric guitar, and he even took the spotlight when he sang two of the stronger numbers in Tea Leaf Green’s catalogue.
But, the band truly does coalesce around the trippy keyboard structures of lead singer Trevor Garrod, who offered up some tasty harmonica playing as well. The band has a well defined sound, adding nuances to the road hardened masterpiece, "Incandescent Devil" and many of the selections from the movie soundtrack Rock’n’Roll Band and the stellar studio offering, Taught to be Proud.
Overall, one couldn’t have asked for a better double bill than Tea Leaf Green with Grace Potter and the Nocturnals, and the 20th Century Theater’s denizens walked out into the open summer air lifted by the positive vibes and heartfelt performances of both groups.