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Grace Potter, Nocturnals finding success in all genres

Grace Potter Nocturnals play two Chicago gigs this weekend. | AP

Grace Potter and the Nocturnals play two Chicago gigs this weekend. | AP

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♦ 7:30 p.m. Jan. 18

♦ Riviera Theatre,
4746 N. Racine


♦ 8:30 p.m., Jan. 19

♦ Park West,
322 W. Armitage

♦ Tickets, $35

♦ (773) 929-1322;

Updated: February 19, 2013 2:17PM

Grace Potter swears a lot and is immensely talented. She’s a movie buff with a photographic memory when it comes to movies and song lyrics. She has more than 91,000 Twitter followers, and she’s besties with country great Kenny Chesney. Plus, she is gorgeous and hasn’t even turned 30 yet.

“Oh [expletive], I turn 30 this year, don’t I,” she laughs during a recent interview. “I know it’s classic to freak out about it, but I feel like I have been 30 for twenty years. I’m an old soul. Age has never meant anything to me.”

What does mean something to her are her fans, and her Nocturnals. Coming to Chicago for weekend dates at the Riviera Theatre and the Park West, Potter says the “massive metropolis” of Chicago has always meant something special to her and her band mates.

“Chicago is definitely a home base for us, but it took a long time,” she says as she attempts to get candle wax out of her dining room tablecloth. “We were a slow burn in Chicago. Chicago makes you work for it.”

Touring in support of the band’s fourth studio album, “The Lion The Beast The Beat,” the Vermont rockers seem high on the turnout of fans and the possibilities for their current single “Stars.”

“It has connected with people because of its meaning and it is the kind of song I would like to be a career changing song if I was going to have one,” she says. “But if it’s not, that’s totally OK with me. If it means something to just one another person other than me, it’s worth it. This song was a song that I could have kept close because it came from such a personal place, but I wanted to share it. I think that’s why fans keep coming back. They know that whatever music we are doing, we are doing for ourselves.”

Indeed, the band has yet to cling to one genre since putting out their first album back in 2004. They even found themselves on last summer’s “Brothers of the Sun” stadium tour alongside country music megastars Kenny Chesney and Tim McGraw.

“The fact that we got up there in front of a country audience and not once did anyone throw a beer bottle at me is unbelievable,” says Potter, who collaborates with Chesney and country legend Willie Nelson on the new record. “Maybe I just had too many cliches of what a country tour was to be, because I was ready for battle. I thought it was going to be a nightmare. I guess in a way Kenny taught me that country fans are also rock fans and rap fans and have kids and watch movies. Most people rolled with it. Kenny gave us a real-deal tour. People who were never exposed to us saw us in an arena setting, and maybe 5,000 people walked out of that arena saying they would someday check out our show.”

So far in 2013, Grace Potter and the Nocturnals and their current “The Roar Tour” is racking up a number of sold out dates and fans.

“Radio is changing and growing and people are listening in a very different way,” she says. “The old formula is cracking. The same people who are listening to Katy Perry and Taylor Swift are also listening to the Avett Brothers and Ween … and us.”

Life is good for Potter, no matter her age.

“I did my growing up over the course of my 20s and probably tried to act older than I was,” she says. “Now, I’m all about going backwards and getting young again. It’s kind of like that Jennifer Garner movie. I’m working backwards till I am thirteen again.”

Tricia Despres is a local free-lance writer.

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