The bold personalities of Grace Potter and Rayland Baxter housed beneath the opulent golden-domed ceiling of the Landmark Theatre conveyed a rich blend of character for their performance Wednesday October 28. A rather portly gentleman, whom saw the need to incessantly double fist beer and resort to yelling loudly at the performers from his undersized velvet upholstered seat, would surely agree.
Baxter’s tender yet tortured howling during “Bad Things” depicted a man paying for past mistakes, seeking remedies from a doctor and bartender, and retribution from a judge. The lyrics conveyed a sense of deep remorse along with submission to living with the consequences. As the song progressed, a weighty assemblage of rock instrumentation supported the dreary tone as deep red lights cast a gloomy hue across the stage.
During a song break, Baxter shared with the crowd his college experience playing lacrosse against Syracuse, and how his team certainly did not win but still had fun playing. The double fisting drunkard, confused by the story, shouted excitedly amidst a silent crowd, “You guys won the championship!” Baxter, having clearly heard the drunkard’s comment, politely responded into the mic attempting to correct the confusion. Hearing muddled by intoxication, the drunkard continued to yell about Syracuse lacrosse before Baxter and his band slid into “Yellow Eyes,” a tune of transience.
The dreamy resonance of Baxter’s coiling vocals wrapped around sweet, gentle organ notes as he sang the lines, “Now I’m on the road/Knowing not which way to go/Is it yes or is it no?/I don’t really care.” Portraying a traveler without a clear vision, the lyrics deduce, “For the golden sun/Has washed me away and I’ve become/Just another vagabond holding my head.” As the song faded out, the drunkard screeched, “You guys sound great!” producing a rowdy echo which drifted through the dark theater much like a wanderer gone astray. Baxter, not wanting to damage their rapport, smiled and replied graciously, “Thank you man, I felt that.”
All puns involving Grace Potter “gracing” the stage will be devoid from this review. When it was Potter’s time to shine, she gracefully (dammit) sashayed across the stage clothed in skin tight, metallic purple bejeweled leggings and a cropped black leather fringed jacket. It wasn’t until her second number the trademark Gibson Flying V accessorized her bohemian rock ‘n’ roll ensemble, suspended from her bouncy shoulders. Her snappy guitar showmanship added to the rock ‘n’ roll flavor, fiercely striking a note before letting her arm fully extend beyond the guitar body. A tangle of beach blonde locks periodically obscuring her vision and utilizing the microphone stand as a clothing hanger lent a Steven Tyler flair to her stage presence.
Potter brought out her acoustic guitar for “Empty Heart,” a song regarding a love scarcity between two souls, yet carrying a surprisingly cheery feel. The drunkard merrily bopped along to Potter’s flirtatious vocals, double fisting all the while. By the time Potter and her band, lovingly referred to as the “Magical Midnight Road Show,” ventured into the tune “Ah Mary,” everyone in the theater was standing.
Before exposing a tenderness with “Let You Go,” Potter prefaced the song, stating “You can sit for this next one, but I have a rule and I’m just gonna’ lay it out now Landmark: You can’t tell someone they can’t dance. You enjoy this ticket however you want.” The crowd opted to collectively take a seat, including the drunkard who listened intently with eyes closed, basking in the emotion.
At one moment when Potter stood close to the edge of the stage, an adoring fan held out a rainbow tie dye scarf which Potter purposefully grasped and draped about her shoulders before continuing to saunter around stage. She moved with the same ease an unashamed kid might strut around the living room in pajamas while singing wildly into a hairbrush. As much as Potter loves to sing, it seemed dancing may have held equal importance. She solidified this notion by removing her shoes before “Medicine,” playfully proclaiming, “I think we should have a dance party, don’t you?” Potter’s moves incorporated a Stevie Nicks power twirl or two, thoroughly delighting the audience.
Potter and her Magical Midnight Roadshow ended the night with “Paris,” a suggestive and sexy hard rock number that showcases Potter’s seductive side. As the song ended and dance party came to a halt, the drunkard repeatedly roared “WE LOVE YOU!” above the applause of the crowd. In case anyone had been previously unaware of his presence, he made sure the room knew what a spectacular night it was.