Baltimore native and now Nashville-based artist Brittney Spencer opened the evening. She has been on the rise recently particularly in the country music sphere. She has performed with the likes of Jason Isbell, Willie Nelson, and the Highwomen. For the show she had Grace Potter's drummer Jordan West and her own electric guitarist Omri Skop. On some songs she played her acoustic guitar.
Most of the songs played were off her brand new album My Stupid Life, with the opening song being "If You Say So". This song was sweet and easy-going and had some country twang to it. Next was "First Car Feeling". Her rich, clear voice sung out beautifully while reminiscing on the past. Between many songs she told stories. Some were about the writing of the song, some described reactions to her songs, like about the tune "Bigger Than The Song" - which she played next - where she name drops many iconic musical figures that have inspired her own musical endeavors. "Deeper" followed, showcasing her musical versatility in a more R&B style song. Then they played "Night In", an ode to all the introverts out there who'd rather stay at home than go out for a night on the town. "Desperate" was next, which dipped into a classic country feeling. The next couple of songs were from further back in her discography. "A Hundred Years Old" is from her 2022 EP if i ever get there: a day at blackbird studio. They played "Sober & Skinny" next, a 2021 single. The final song returned to her new album, called "I Got Time". She taught the crowd how to sing part of it, and so the audience was harmonizing all together, bringing her performance home.
All of her songs have a good pop sensibility, especially in the lyricism and melodies. She has proven she isn't bound to one genre, and that she has a lot to offer as she continues on with her career. If Brittney Spencer is in a town near you, do yourself a favor and go see her and her wonderful band!
Grace Potter and her band absolutely busted out of the gates for the first song, "Lady Vagabond", off her new album Mother Road. Backed up by Indya Bratton and Ricky Dover Jr. on guitar, Jordan West on drums, and Kurtis Keber on bass, they showed the crowd that it was going to be a great night of rocking. The props on stage placed us out west on the highway, and Grace and her band were bringing the open roads of the west to the Lincoln Theater. As they were going into "Ah Mary" - a Grace Potter & the Nocturnals era song - Grace was having a quick costume change, stating that she was going to change outfits as many times as she could during the show. Next they played another Nocturnals song, "Medicine", which the crowd really enjoyed. They then played the "Truck Stop Angels" interlude into "Empty Heart", from Grace's 2015 album Midnight. During this song was just one of the moments from this night that Grace had the entire crowd clapping. Everybody was engaged with what was happening on stage. Returning to Mother Road, "Ready Set Go" was next. This is one of my favorites from the new album because of the 70's feel and the fun energy of it. "Treat Me Right" from Nothing But The Water followed, with a beautiful, mysterious, slow-burning intro where Grace reflects on her career and how she got here. She sings a couple verses of her song "The Divide", then the band goes seamlessly into the first verse of "Treat Me Right". Throughout the song, lots of fun and trippy effects were used and at one point Ricky Dover Jr. tuned his low E string all the way down.
The next song, "Good Time", proved you can't keep a good time down when at a Grace Potter show! After that they played "Something That I Want", which was featured in Tangled, the Disney movie from 2010. Then, in a theatrical detour, the rest of the band got removed from the stage, leaving Grace to do some solo stuff. With some audience encouragement, Grace played "Release" from Daylight. This is one she doesn't play too often as she stated it makes her cry. It was just her and her piano, and the whole crowd must've gotten universal goosebumps from the beauty and emotion of her performance. At one point she stopped playing piano and just sang acapella, and her voice was rich with the sentimental feelings of the piece.
The full band then came back and Brittney and her guitarist Omri joined in for "Reaching Out", which is a song off Brittney Spencer's new album. The studio version features Grace Potter, and they sung it beautifully together live. At one point during the show Grace made the metaphor that her & her band were the drivers of the truck that the crowd was hitching a ride from. While figuring out what song to play next, they teased a little "Life Is A Highway" written by Tom Cochrane. Then, a 9 year old girl on the rail suggested "All My Ghosts" to which Grace responded, "You know that's the one with all the f-bombs in it right!?" After getting parental permission, they played the song. I heard from someone who was up there that the girl was singing along with all the songs all night, having the time of her life. Then they played "Nothing But the Water" I and II, from the 2005 album of the same name. For the first part of the song, it was just Grace and Jordan West playing. As the set closer they played a truly beastly "The Lion the Beast the Beat", making sure the audience hadn't forgotten how heavy they can rock.
The crowd was stomping their feet to make as much noise as possible to encourage the encore. When the band came back out, they first played "Delirious" from Midnight. Then they played fan favorite "Paris (Ooh La La)", and you could hear everyone singing along. Next, they played a beautiful rendition of "Stars" which glided beautifully into a cover of "I Shall Be Released", written by Bob Dylan, and Brittney Spencer returned to sing some beautiful harmonies with Grace. This was the finale, and it was an amazing way to send off everyone for the night. The theme of the show was ultimately that of release and of the beauty of unpredictability.
I started listening to Grace Potter in 2020. The first album I heard was Daylight, which became a very special album to me. This was my first time seeing her live though. If you think her vocals are amazing on recordings, just wait till you hear them live. She is a very dynamic singer. Her belting power is incredible, and she also can sing so tenderly. She has full emotional range in her voice, and conveys many feelings flawlessly through her performance. If you want a show of raw, soulful rock n' roll, go see Grace Potter. If you want an emotionally introspective show, go see Grace Potter. Her & her band are incredibly tight, talented, and fun. If you have a chance to see Grace Potter, don't miss it.
SETLIST (this list may have minor inaccuracies due to multiple detours in the night)
Truck Stop Angels >
Ready Set Go
Treat Me Right
Something That I Want
All My Ghosts
Nothing But the Water I
Nothing But the Water II
The Lion The Beast The Beat
Paris (Ooh La La)
I Shall Be Released*
Notes: * featured Brittney Spencer
Words by: Maya Crumpton
Photos by: Jerry Friend