Being declared one of the best modern voices in rock music is quite an achievement. Vermont’s bad girl Grace Potter made that title quickly valid during Toronto’s 2016 Jazz Festival, where a small lucky audience got a chance to be dazzled. Prince’s prelude to Let’s Go Crazy started the set, and while this is yet another piece of evidence as to how the late rock star affected most musicians, it is also a testament to Potter’s identity as her own kind of multi-instrumentalist talents. The homage, which famously talks about the “afterlife”, ended as Potter and her band took to the stage to rock in his name.
Two other big names came to mind as soon as Potter started to light Nathan Phillips Square on fire: Joan Jett and Shania Twain. Potter belts out saucy shouts like the former punk rocker while she settles down with a country pop hospitality like the latter. She is an approachable icon; someone with enough grace to not scare anyone off with her boldness. When an audience member yells “I love you” and you get a mutual response back (courtesy of Potter’s fun loving nature), you know you’re in comfortable company.
Potter strapped on her signature flying v guitar when she had folk rock jams to slay. She quickly rotated that with a sunburst acoustic guitar to play her country-esque ballads with ease. Yes, Potter is a signature voice in rock music today, but you can argue that she is a unique voice in other genres as well. Like any other good rock, country or folk shows, a great time was had, and Potter made sure that everyone was on their feet and clapping away. This is your common feel good show done right. It was a genuine explosion of fun and not something you felt compelled to dance along to because the ringleader said to.
Case in point: Grace Potter kicks some serious ass.