Sam Roberts Band and Grace Potter and the Nocturnals @ Erie Canal Harbor Central Wharf, Buffalo, New York
Friday, June 29, 2012
By: J. Ritz
Opening night of "Buffalo Place Rocks The Harbor" for 2012, kicked off last Friday night with a double bill that created a debate over who should headline the show. Both Grace Potter and The Nocturnals, and The Sam Roberts Band have both headlined here before, and both have their loyal fans. Due to Buffalo being a "border" town To Canada and Roberts Canadian roots, he was given the headline slot for this evenings performance.
Taking the stage first was Grace Potter, who has evolved from her hippie look, to a drop dead gorgeous cover girl, without losing a bit of her identity. They opened with the title track of their latest album, "The Lion The Beast The Beat, " and the harbor officially began to rock. Potter has an amazing voice, and an equally amazing stage presence, stopping at times to draw on the similarities of Buffalo to her home in Vermont.
A talented musician, Potter played the organ on "Goodbye Kiss," and guitar on many of her songs. Make no mistake, this girl can rock when she straps on her Gibson. She jumps and dances on stage, all the while singing with incredible smoothness, and downright power.
After performing their hit "Paris," Potter said goodnight, but the band continued to play sort of "on stage encore." They went into "Medicine," a song that Potter came back on stage to. Potter really showed off her voice, and really must be heard live to fully appreciate her talent. As the song ended, the band jammed the outro by converging on the drums where everyone grabbed a stick and played together. When Grace Potter and The Nocturnals left the stage, unfortunately so did half of the fans in attendance.
The Sam Roberts Band had the undesirable task of following Potter's act. They came out and played an upbeat version of their hit "I Feel You." Those left in attendance were dancing in the lawn, enjoying the groove that Sam Roberts provided.
Roberts stomped around on stage as he pounded out hit after hit, soaked in sweat on a hot and humid night. Going on a decade of stardom in Canada, winning multiple Juno Awards, they always had a following here in Buffalo. Their sound is reminiscent of a jam band, with a bit of a funk/ rock groove. It definitely is something you can sit and listen to on a Sunday afternoon.
Roberts stopped at one point to address the crowd, and thank them for their continued support, when a "LET'S GO BUFF-A-LO!" chant broke out. This venue is located across the street from the home of the NHL Buffalo Sabres and Roberts took notice of this. As the chant grew a little louder, the band joined in, stomping and chanting along, until everyone in attendance was screaming at the top of their lungs. Roberts appeared to enjoy it, as he was grinning from ear to ear. And so strengthening the bond between between Buffalo and Canada, through music and hockey.
Shortly after leaving the stage, they returned for a three song encore. Playing lengthy versions of each song, they ended with "Mind Flood." Putting everything they had into their performance, the crowd roared as the Roberts band gathered on the stage drenched in sweat taking a bow for the last time closing a nice evening of music from both bands.
Sam Roberts Band Set list:
I Feel You
Fixed To Ruin
Where Have All The Good People Gone
Let It In
Bridge To Nowhere
Love At The End of The World
Streets of Heaven
The Last Crusade
Without A Map
Don't Walk Away Eileen
Grace Potter and The Nocturnals Set list:
The Lion The Beast The Beat
Never Go Back
Stop The Bus
Paris (Ooh La La)
We would like to thank Jackie Jonmaire for setting up the credentials for Backstageaxxess.com to review the show.