Grace Potter and the Nocturnals
8 p.m. May 30 at The Dame, 367 East Main. $10 advance, $12 at the door. (859) 231-7263. www.dameky.com.
A big ol' pop Nor'easter heads to The Dame on Friday by way of Grace Potter and the Nocturnals. Although popular with jam-band crowds for years, the Vermont outfit designed its most torrential pop, rock and soul storm on a 2007 album called This Is Somewhere.
Preceding recordings certainly suggested Potter's way with a wailing, rootsy, even anthemic tune. But on Somewhere, the Nocturnals' sound fully arrived. Late into the album, there is a one-two punch that many bands spend their creative lifespans trying to mount. Here, Potter makes it all sound easy with a celebratory pop hullabaloo called Mastermind and a slide-savvy roots-rock workout, Here's to the Meantime, that follows.
There is irony, certainly, in the fact that a New England-bred songstress like Potter sounds so Southern on most of her songs with the Nocturnals. Her vocals often bring the blues-versed singing of Susan Tedeschi to mind. But there is also big, bright pop (Mr. Columbus), a neo-country requiem (Big White Gate) and even a bit of activist angst (Ah, Mary) within This Is Somewhere.
Now comes the fun part: watching Potter and the Nocturnals bring these often-stormy portraits to life within the confines of The Dame. Sounds like a cool Saturday night to me.
Skids and Straits
Two killer bands, both longtime regional favorites, team up to revisit the region twice this weekend. But you will have to hit the road to catch them.
The bill features the veteran roots-rock party trio Southern Culture on the Skids with the masked men of surf, twang and instrumental pop, Los Straitjackets.
Southern Culture on the Skids — SCOTS, to its fans — has not released a new album since the 2007 covers project, Countrypolitan Favorites. But that is a blast of a record if you haven't heard it, from Mary Huff's highly respectful cover of the 1961 Wanda Jackson B-side Funnel of Love to Rick Miller's instantly infectious country-a-go-go version of the 1967 Byrds hit Have You Seen Her Face.
Los Straitjackets might be known for summoning sounds of vintage surf and twang. But its newest recording, The Further Adventures of Los Straitjackets, displays its guitar-savvy sound in a lighter, warmer light with new original tunes like Cal-Speed, Fortune Cookie and Nocturnal Twist. The titles figure into the album's elaborate comic-style album art, as well.
The Skids and the Straits play Friday at Headliners Music Hall, 1386 Lexington Road in Louisville, and Saturday at Southgate House, 24 East Third Street in Newport. (9 p.m., $18 each night. Call (502) 584-8088 for the Louisville concert and (859) 431-2201 for the Newport show.)
Just for kicks
Terry Anderson used to make the regional rounds with an all-star Americana rock troupe known as The Yahoos. In recent years, though, the drummer/guitarist has been coaching a similarly spirited but not-so-subtly titled electric combo called the Olympic Ass Kicking Team — or, for more tender eyes and ears, the OAK Team. On the band's new album National Champions, Anderson and company are in splendid barroom form — especially on such no-regrets rockers as You Had Me at Get Lost. Among the album's highlights is an electric parable titled Willie Mays that probably won't find its way onto Barry Bonds' iPod any time soon. Anderson and the OAKs return to Lexington on Thursday to play The Green Lantern, 497 West Third Street. (9 p.m. $5. Call (859) 252-9539.)