‘Grace Potter and the Nocturnals’ at Wolf Trap by Erica Laxson

Grace Potter and the Nocturnals graced Wolf Trap with their presence and boy was the crowd happy to be there! This popular rock and bluegrass group has quite a few devoted fans and they were rewarded with a delightful evening of whimsical wailing, pitch perfect ballads, and a setlist uniquely crafted by Potter herself specifically for the Vienna, VA location. A powerful evening of music that dazzled the ears and made your soul soar while you unapologetically rocked out to Potter’s voice and The Nocturnals’ unstoppable sound.

Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue. Photo courtesy of Wolf Trap.
Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue. Photo courtesy of Wolf Trap.

Opening act  Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue spent their entire set exuding energy and pure jazz fusion, but it took a few songs for the audience to truly warm up to their unique blend of horns and heart. Funky fresh frontman Shorty Trombone puts the ‘T’ in triple threat with his trombone tickling, talented singing and a few expertly executed dance moves. The jazz group, comprised of Mike Ballard, Dan Oestreicher, Tim McFatter, Pete Murano, and Joey Peebles, shone with incredible solos and played in undeniable harmony with their lead man. Even those unfamiliar with jazz fusion couldn’t help but get up from their seats to dance.

After a brief break, Grace Potter and the Nocturnals took the stage in a flash of lights. Potter’s pipes hound you with their unique sound, incredible depth, and wild smoky vocals. Each song follows a similar style, but flows effortlessly from rock and roll and country ballads to blues numbers and her wicked take on pop. Potter brought her own energy to several covers that earned hearty cheers from the crowd – who clapped along with the well known songs dripping with Potter’s soulful sound.

Grace Potter & the Nocturnals. Photo courtesy of Wolf Trap.
Grace Potter & the Nocturnals. Photo courtesy of Wolf Trap.

The Nocturnals, featuring Matt Burr, Scott Tournet, Benny Yurco, Michael Libramento, and guest Ron Holloway on saxophone, highlighted Potter’s energetic music with the perfect level of funk and flavor. More than just a singer, Potter plays several instruments and is a talented songwriter. Her command of music is evident as she flitted from piano to guitar and back again, but it’s her heartfelt lyrics that make it so easy to understand the devotion of her followers. She speaks to the every-woman and every-man with every song spreading understanding messages about life, love, loss, and so much more.

5 stars for a funky fresh evening of great music from both Shorty Trombone & Orleans Avenue and Grace Potter and the Nocturnals, especially during the special performance of “Paris.” They make an incredible team and kept the audience moving and grooving on their feet all night long. If you have a chance to see Grace Potter live, don’t miss it!

Grace Potter and the Nocturnals played for one-night-only on August 15, 2013 at The Filene Center at Wolf Trap – 1551 Trap Road, in Vienna, VA. For future performances and Information, check their calendar of events.


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