Grace Potter & The Nocturnals

Grace Potter & The Nocturnals

The Stepkids

Sun, February 24, 2013

Doors: 6:00 pm / Show: 7:00 pm

The Capitol Theatre

Port Chester, NY

$55 & $35 ADVANCE - $60 & $40 DAY OF SHOW

This event is 18 and over

Grace Potter & The Nocturnals
Grace Potter & The Nocturnals
Grace Potter & the Nocturnals' self-made 2005 debut album, Nothing but the Water revealed a musically
sophisticated young band inspired by the music of the late '60s/early '70s and fronted by a then-21-year-old
dynamo whose nuanced singing, organ playing and songwriting belied her age. The follow-up, 2007's This Is
Somewhere, confirmed that the band had no interest in following trends but was instead in pursuit of timeless
expression as it forged its identity. On 2010's self-titled third album, GPN, toughened by a half decade of
nonstop roadwork, flexed their rock 'n' roll muscles and confirmed that they were in it for the long haul.
Now, seven years after hitting the radar, GPN take an exponential leap with the widescreen opus THE LION
THE BEAST THE BEAT (Hollywood, June 12, 2012). With this musically combustible and conceptually
dazzling work, the Vermont-based band forcefully takes its place alongside the best of its peers while building
on the rich legacy of its inspirations. During this a la carte age, Grace Potter & the Nocturnals have boldly
pushed against the current, making a bona fide album that demands to be heard in its entirety . . . not that its 11
songs don't utterly beguile on their own. "This album is really a different animal than our previous records—no
pun intended," says Potter.
"I think what people love about us is the energy we generate playing together and feeding off each other," says
guitarist Scott Tournet. "There's a lot of drive in our band, and we managed to capture that on this record. We
love the music that we cut our teeth on and it'll always be part of us, but we've reached the point where we're
consciously trying to push things forward."
THE LION THE BEAST THE BEAT was produced by Potter and veteran producer Jim Scott (Tom Petty and
the Heartbreakers, Wilco, the Tedeschi Trucks Band). Adding to the firepower of the project is Dan Auerbach
who produced and co-wrote the track "Loneliest Soul" and also produced and co-wrote the band's first single
"Never Go Back," and "Runaway," both of which were co-produced by Scott. David Campbell (Beck, My
Morning Jacket, Jackson Browne) arranged and conducted the strings on the album. The LP was mixed by
fellow Vermonter and Grammy award winner Rich Costey (Foo Fighters, TV on the Radio, Bruce
Springsteen's Wrecking Ball). Alongside the band's original guitarist/songwriter Scott Tournet, drummer/band
co-founder Matt Burr, guitarist Benny Yurco (who joined in 2009), Potter commenced recording the album in
October, 2011. They later invited multi-instrumentalist Michael Libramento (from Floating Action) to join them
on the sessions.
The band tracked the majority of the record live off the floor at PLYRZ, Scott's studio in Santa Clarita, 30 miles
northeast of L.A. "When I first met Jim, I knew I wanted to make this record with him," says Grace. "He totally
gets us. He brought the perfect balance of sonic integrity and laid-back finesse." The feeling is mutual. "Grace
is a rock 'n' roll superhero," says Scott. "She can really bring it. She's full of ideas, she never misses a note and
the band is badass."
Last November, while Potter was in Nashville for the CMA Awards, she and Auerbach got together in his
studio. "It was a concentrated environment," Grace says of the breakneck Nashville sessions. "Dan and I were
writing lyrics together, singing melodies and trading off ideas, while Benny, Scott and Matt were working up
the tracks with us. I love the way Dan's mind works, because it's so out there, but he balanced it really well by
stepping back and behaving like a producer/writer." At the end of the three days, they had the spines of "Never
Go Back" (the throbbing first single) and "Runaway," while nailing the madcap "Loneliest Soul."
"In late November, as the song list continued expanding, I felt the priorities starting to shift," Grace recalls.
"I began to look at the whole project through new eyes. I realized then that making this record wasn't about just
putting a bunch of great songs together; it needed to be a cohesive piece of work with connections between the
songs."
Not long after the band returned to Scott's studio, Potter surprised everyone by abruptly calling the project to a
halt, despite the fact that the band was playing better than ever, Scott was capturing the performances in all their
eruptive immediacy and the record company was excited by the quality of the tracks that were being delivered.
Potter, for whom everything musical had always come so easily, had hit the wall for the first time in her life as
an artist. "I knew within a few weeks of being in the studio that something didn't feel right. At first I was in
total denial, and we just kept chugging along like we always do – but deep down, I just didn't love the direction
the music was going in," Grace recalls. "It wasn't the band or Jim, it was me. There was an unsettling voice in
my head telling me to pull back and look at the bigger picture. I realized that I had no idea what kind of record
we were making until we were already two months deep."
This shocking realization led to a round of intensive soul searching. "It was a scary moment for me, because
stopping is not really in my genetic makeup," she says. "Pulling out was a real bummer for everyone else
because the band was just hitting its stride—but I wasn't hitting mine. So I called the record company and said I
needed a month to work on the existing songs and write some new ones from scratch, plus another week with
the band away from the studio to just play music together. Then I jumped in my car and disappeared. I needed
to refocus my intentions for this record without any distractions or outside opinion."
Potter pointed her car north and drove. "I did the thing I always wanted to do: the real fantasy road trip. For
years we'd be traveling through beautiful country in the tour bus, and I would look out the window and see all
these long dirt roads that look like they go nowhere – so this time I decided to drive down them." Potter's
journey took her up the west coast until she reached the rocky coastline and redwood forests of Big Sur. By the
time she arrived, Grace had begun to unlock the riddle of the album. After a week in the California wilderness,
she flew back home to Vermont, where she tramped the snow-covered hills, invigorated by the winter air—"and
the music came pouring out of me," she says. "I wrote four new songs in Vermont. Then I traveled again to a
quiet place by the ocean, holed up in a hotel room and finished some songs I'd written over a year earlier that
just needed a second chance. I had no guidelines, which was part of the problem at the beginning, but also part
of the breakthrough at the end."
Potter's soul journey unlocked the thematic riddle, yielding, among other things, a pair of new linchpin songs in
"Timekeeper" and "The Divide," while also completing the title track, "The Lion The Beast The Beat." With
these key pieces in place, the tracks they'd cut prior to the break, including the stomping rocker "Keepsake," the
yearning "Parachute Heart" and the three Auerbach collaborations, now snapped right into place, conceptually
and dynamically. "Once I found what I'd been looking for," she says, "the floodgates opened, and we cut the
rest of the album in two weeks." With the help of her eager and talented band and co-producer, Potter had
achieved what she'd set out to do: to create a musically audacious and thematically unified Big Statement.
Less a concept album than a panoramic sonic terrain across which various thematic vectors collide and
combine, THE LION THE BEAST THE BEAT "plays on the duality of human nature—the fact that we all have
our demons and we all have the ability to be good." Grace explains. "More than ever, I think outside perception
affects how we view ourselves… I started thinking about these archetypes: everyone perceives a lion as a
powerful, glorious animal and a beast as a flawed, scary, unpleasant creature…but that's just on the outside.
You only have to read a few children's fables to see those themes: the 'Cowardly Lion' from The Wizard of Oz,
the Beast from Beauty and the Beast – I'm fascinated by the idea that we all hold such a broad spectrum of
impulses and how we choose to act on them makes us who we are."
"'The Lion The Beast The Beat' is a big part of what made this record what it is," Grace says of the title song.
"It had to be absolutely undeniable, and I think that song lays it all out on the table. It's a dynamic journey,
taking the listener on a series of emotional twists and turns. It took a long time to take shape, but when it did, it
became a pillar of the album."
The dark, sinuous "Timekeeper," which opens with the ticking of a clock, provides the thematic bridge between
the album's epic bookends, while also serving to "transition between the two stages of making the record," says
Grace. "It was a reckoning - a breaking point. I wrote the song while I was in the thick of it. It's
a manifestation of a lot of fears, not just around the making of the album, but around life. This really sums up
THE BEAT… – the beat of a heart, the turn of a page, the tick of a clock…the inevitable reality that time will
pass."
The other pillar is the progressively building showstopper "The Divide." Just as "The Lion The Beast The Beat"
demanded to be the opening track, "The Divide" could only be the closer. The album's denouement is unlocked
in the latter song's recurring passage, "The lines are blurring/I can't tell the lion from the beast." "'The
Divide' really presents a question rather than making a declaration," Potter explains. "The search continues.
The end of this album takes you right back to the beginning again. It's an ellipsis."
"It's been a journey, but Grace really stepped up to the plate," says Tournet. "She had a vision and she stuck
with it. When I listened to the mixed album, I was blown away by how slammin' and ballsy it turned out. We
went way deeper on this one, and it's gonna be incredible to play live."
THE LION THE BEAST THE BEAT represents a rite of passage for a band that is knocking on the door of
greatness. "This process was more painstaking than on any other record we've made; a complete labor of love
and hate. I credit the Nocturnals for courageously jumping off that cliff with me," Potter acknowledges. "We all
took a risk and I hope that resonates when people hear the album."
The Stepkids
The Stepkids
The Stepkids are futuristic electro soul recorded on a reel-to-reel; soaring harmonies sung by three singer/songwriters; Kandinsky-esque visuals that make for enigmatic live performances.

"A lot of what excites us about this band is this band itself," says bassist and keyboardist Dan Edinberg. "It's not either of us; it's about creating an entity where the entity itself is what's important."

It's an approach that comes from more than a decade of musical experimentation. Raised on the East Coast jazz and R&B circuit, individual band members went on to share stages with 50 Cent and Lauryn Hill, tour internationally with indie punk band Zox, score movies and commercials, and produce solo albums. However, it was an interest in creating an aesthetic identity which supersedes conventional pop notions of stardom and self-importance that ultimately drew them together.

The Stepkids groove is a startling, yet sexy, fusion of punk, jazz, West African traditional, 1960s folk, neo and classic soul, classic funk and 20th century classical; think T.Rex meets Sun Ra, Sly Stone meets Stravinsky, and Dylan meets Dilla. Philosophy and literature provide a conceptual schematic, from existential musings ("Legend in My Own Mind"), to the work of Charles Bukowski ("La La") and Plato's theoretical "Allegory of the Cave" ("Shadows on Behalf"). Add to this a vested interest in the recording process, and you have an imaginative album of Technicolor brilliance expertly self-engineered and self-produced. Live, kaleidoscopic projections by experimental video artist Jesse Mann consume the stage with light for a multi-sensory experience.

And every song on the Stepkids self-titled debut album is written with equal input from each member.

"All three of us write and all three of us sing," says Jeff Gitelman, who resigned from touring as Alicia Keys' guitarist to concentrate full-time on recording the Stepkids self-titled debut album.
"There's an equal split in the creative process, and we're really happy about that," says drummer Tim Walsh. "Any lyric, any melody, any idea could have been done by any of us."

There's no singular icon, no singular sound, and no singular way of making it happen for the Stepkids. It's psychedelia for the 21st century, where the focus is on the whole.
Venue Information:
The Capitol Theatre
149 Westchester Avenue
Port Chester, NY, 10573
http://thecapitoltheatre.com/