Review: Grace Potter & Brittney Spencer @ the Showbox

Grace Potter & Brittney Spencer @ the Showbox – 3/1/24
Review by Bailey Ludlum

March 1st was a typical Friday night for most people in Seattle, but for everyone in attendance at the Showbox at the Market, March 1st came to be known as ‘Grace Day.’ The audience may have thought they knew what they were in for, but they had no idea. 

With electric performances from start to finish, Brittney Spencer kicked off the night by introducing the crowd to her debut album My Stupid Life. As soon as Brittney was on stage, it was like watching a comic book debut (like New Mutants #98, for my nerds) in real life – the moment she appeared, you couldn’t imagine the storyline without her. And when I say from the moment Brittney was on stage, I mean the moment she was on stage the front row already had their hands up and clapping. She barely made it a few songs in before the lighters were in the air; with songs like ‘I Got Time’ that celebrate new love, ‘Bigger Than the Song’, a tribute to the inspirations that got her here (and whose ranks she will join one day soon), and the hell-yes anthem ‘First Car Feeling,’ she had the crowd swaying in the palm of her hand. 

Grace Potter – photo by Kirk Stauffer

Brittney Spencer is music’s newest alchemist, spinning gold by tapping into that coveted, elusive formula of blending the sounds and feelings of the music we grew up to with her own soulful and authentic style in a way that feels new, yet familiar at the same time; from the lovesick songs to the Friday night party tracks to the girl power anthems – it’s the kind of music that you will listen to for decades and share with the next generation.  

Some say ‘game recognize game,’ and there couldn’t be a more perfect example than the story of how Brittney Spencer and Grace Potter met in a hot tub and immediately knew they would not only be friends, but also go on tour together. And this ain’t just any ol’ buddy comedy when it comes to these two ladies – no way, with Brittney ridin’ shotgun and Grace in the driver’s seat, it’s more like Thelma and Louise – two badass women putting the pedal to the medal and making a getaway with guitars instead of cars. 

Brittney joined Grace for only five shows on her Mother Road tour – Seattle was fortunate to be one of the stops, because Brittney Spencer and Grace Potter truly are a match made in musical heaven. Not only is there a palpable deep mutual respect between the two artists, but there is also a special vibe you can feel in their music; maybe it’s partly the fact that Jordan West played drums and kept the rhythm for both their acts (!), or maybe it was when Grace pulled Brittney back on stage to duet ‘Little Hitchhiker’ from Mother Road and ‘Reaching Out’, one of Grace’s favorite songs from My Stupid Life; or when she pointed out that Brittney chose an excellent name for her debut album (everyone in attendance agreed). Many of us – GP included – knew that we were witnessing a star on the rise, and when she is playing sold-out stadiums someday soon, we will get to say we saw her up-close and personal in an intimate venue before she became a supernova.

With a healthy mix of new cuts from Mother Road – such as ‘Lady Vagabond,’ ‘Ready Set Go,’ and ‘Good Time’ – and songs from days past with the Nocturnals like ‘The Lion the Beast the Beat,’ ‘Treat Me Right,’ an absolutely killer cover of Fleetwood Mac’s ‘Gold Dust Woman,’ and show-closer ‘Paris (Ohh La La)’, GP picked up where Brittney left off and drove the show like she stole it. 

You don’t have to know GP’s musical history – the numerous iconic artists she has worked with, the number of Grammys she has been nominated for (and won), the globe-trotting tours she has embarked upon – to know that she is something special when you see her perform under a spotlight. Just knowing that she is a former Seattle resident (all the good ones are) is enough to know that she is a real one, but when she gets on stage… damn, does she proves it.

First off, you don’t just see Grace Potter on stage – you feel her on stage. The moment she has a guitar in her hands or gets her fingers on some keys the energy in the room lifts and takes off with her music, and you know you’re cruisin’ with a skipper that has done this road trip many times before. In more ways than one, Grace reminds you of other groundbreaking artists – Stevie Nicks and Sheryl Crow come to mind, with their natural talent as songwriters and the way they expertly use their voices as an extension of their music – she is a force of her own nature. Absolutely bursting with charisma, swagger, and stage presence, Grace has the easy, care-free vibe of someone that knows she belongs in front of a crowd because she’s damn good at it. With stories that are as equally hilarious as they are interesting, a wardrobe that is as sly and confident as her sense of humor, boundless energy and seemingly endless musical talent, GP has assumed her throne as the new queen of the sonic road trip. If you find yourself on the Mother Road and there is a stop with Grace Potter’s name on it, do not miss that exit.