Grace Potter and the Nocturnals closed out Bele Chere’s Coxe Avenue stage Saturday night, diving into the driving, soulful rhythms of “Medicine” to open the rowdy set that helped breathe second life into exhausted onlookers. Potter — who sauntered onstage several minutes into the band’s opening jam — shook and writhed her way through the nearly two-hour performance, oozing sexuality and captivating the dense crowd with her sultry vocals. Donning a short, silky dress, the bluesy diva stole the show as she rotated between guitar and electric organ duties, her voice occasionally erupting into super-sonic wails that made the screeching electric guitars seem tame.
The Vermont five-piece was met with roaring applause at every turn — whether it was a slow-burning ballad or a raucous rock jam — especially after a cover of Jefferson Airplane’s “White Rabbit” near the end of the show, and following a brief disappearance, the band reemerged beneath eerie blue lights to treat the anxious crowd to a three-song encore that began with the uncharacteristic ambience of “Nothing But the Water (1).” However, that soothing break quickly faded with a seamless transition into “Nothing But the Water (II),” a distorted cacophony of organ and guitars that left no doubt Grace Potter and the Nocturnals know how to rock. But just in case there was any doubt, the sweaty retro-rockers finished things off with a supercharged version of “Sweet Hands” that found all five members converging on the drum kit for a percussive sound off that could be felt all the way to Patton Avenue.
Photos by Jonathan Welch