Poised to amp up the crowd and blow Tortuga Music Festival's LandShark-beer-toting concertgoers off the sand with a high-energy, genre-crossing, no-holds-barred performance are Grace Potter and the Nocturnals.
The five-piece, alt-folk, bluesy jam band has been together for ten years. Led by the down-to-earth, barefoot-dancing multi-instrumentalist Grace Potter, the group has been steadily gaining a cult following and jumping up the U.S. charts with its latest album, The Lion the Beast the Beat.
In anticipation of Tortuga fest, Potter took time away from enjoying a sunny tour stop in L.A. to give us some advice on relationships and share war stories from the road.
Tortuga Music Festival: With Grace Potter and the Nocturnals, Kenny Chesney, Eric Church, the Avett Brothers, and others. 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, April 13 and 14, at Fort Lauderdale Beach Park, 1100 Seabreeze Blvd., Fort Lauderdale. Visit tortugamusicfestival.com. Tickets cost $99 to $649 plus fees.
New Times: Do you have any outrageous highlights or memorable tour moments?
Grace Potter: Oh yeah! [laughs] Some are not printable! One of the most exceptional nights and days was St. Patrick's Day in Dublin, Ireland. We just happened to be there. I mean, it was a full-on accident. But it was an epic night — a night to remember on every level. The whole band was together, and we went out pubbing and just basically let it all hang out because nobody knew who we were! We were just like every other crazy, freewheeling, drunk Irish person who was out on the streets that night. There's a video, actually, of me street-dancing with a stranger. I just broke into dance at one point, and you can see it online — I actually tweeted it. I was just completely possessed by the Irishness of it all. But it was a really great night.
You and your drummer, Matthew Burr, met at a Java Barn on the St. Lawrence campus while you were playing out?
He's also your boyfriend. Is that still true?
[laughs] I don't comment on my personal life. I'm sorry.
I was just going to ask if you have any advice or secrets on how you've done so well. You must have good chemistry playing together for so long.
I think a big part of music is about being around people that believe in you and that you believe in, and having mutual respect.
And, you know, every single piece of the puzzle that builds the band and makes the band who we are comes from respecting each other and loving to be around each other. Because we really are a family, and it's like a marriage. And I'm not saying it is a marriage [laughs], but there is a sense of commitment that you really put toward not just one person, but the entire group. And that's really all I have to say about that.
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The Tortuga festival is coming up. You've already worked and toured with some of the headliners, like Kenny Chesney and the Avett Brothers. Are you excited to all reunite down South?
Absolutely, I can't wait to see everybody. It's been too long. Well, with the Avetts, we've been in Europe, so we're totally sick of each other. [laughs] I'm just kidding. No, it'll be great to see Kenny and the Avetts.
Is there anyone you're dying to work with next, maybe in a different genre, maybe to branch out your sound somewhere new?
Yeah, you know, I'd love to get a remix. I always thought that would be cool, to hear kind of like a dance-floor version of what we do and to also get some other producers' perspectives on what we do. Because it's hard, for me anyway, to go into the club and hear some of the music that they play. Some of it's awesome, but a lot of times it's like, Ugh, I just want 'em to remix one of our songs! I think it would be fun to get some tunes that work for our modern disco era. [laughs]