Saturday, 16 February 2013

Caught Them At Sundown: Grace Potter & The Nocturnals at The Corona Theatre

Grace Potter & The Nocturnals at The Corona Theatre

Caught Them At Sundown  |  Vino

The Corona Theatre is a majestic establishment with heavy gold and burgundy curtains, cherubic paintings sweeping across the ceiling, and a balcony area that adds a sense of luxury and decadence. The crowd is composed of gruff-bearded men in plaid shirts, fresh-faced adolescents gathered in groups, chatting with their friends and migrating to the bar. As the audience continues to grow, newcomers are welcomed by Zach duPont Band. Their rich sound is complimented by a well-balanced delivery, at times soft and melodic, often awing the crowd to silence, at others brimming with tribal energy. 

Consisting of two guitarists, a bassist, a drummer, and a keyboardist, what sets them apart is their blend of contemporary folk and full-bodied blues, largely attributed to the presence trumpeter Will Andrews. Zach duPont, lead vocalist on acoustic guitar, interacts with the crowd spouting self-deprecating jokes between songs. The songs themselves are remarkably dynamic with great solos that allow each member of the band to showcase their undeniable skill. Finishing their set to an appreciative applause, they extend an invitation to chat with them by the bar, before clearing the stage for Grace Potter and the Nocturnals.

I had caught up with Grace Potter's newest album, The Lion The Beast The Beat, to psych myself up for the concert, but the show they put on is an entirely different experience. While their musicality and storytelling radiate through one’s headphones, Grace's unrestraint and wildly contagious energy shines brightest on the stage. They open with "Hot Summer Night", Grace moving gracefully around the stage (no pun intended) was clearly the centre of attention. Dressed in a monochromatic paisley blouse, fitted black skirt, and embellished vest, her sense of style is not to go unnoticed. Ms. Potter has a breathtakingly powerful voice behind a flurry of blond hair, strumming her guitar, throwing off her killer boots, she grooves alongside her bandmates. Scott Tournet, who winds up the crowd with his insane solos, looks all the more endearing for having a dopey smile plastered on his face as he pulls off mind-blowing musical acrobatics. After 90 minutes of parading the stage, laying sprawled on the floor, and brandishing a Canadian flag they'd grabbed from the crowd, the band finishes their set gathered around the drums, each member beating away. After joining hands and bowing for the spellbound audience, they walk off stage, looking as reluctant to leave as we are to see them go. 

After a determined effort by the crowd to "encore" them back on stage, Grace sidles back wearing a sheepish smile. "We just decided back there that Montreal is our favorite Canadian town to play", she exclaims. What starts as a strumming guitar alone on a dark stage ends as a fiery "mélange" of a striking light show and music so loud and enjoyable that I’m sure to wake up the next morning with this song still vibrating through my ears.

Grace Potter performs "Cinnamon Girl" at the Corona theatre in Montreal

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