April 18, 2014
On a brisk April evening, New Orleans-based crowd favorites The Revivalists
powered onto the stage of the infamous Brooklyn Bowl for a solid second night of sold out performances. Sharing a bill with Nashville based Moon Taxi for a string of dates; this particular Friday night had The Revivalists batting first. The crowd was ready for action the minute the septet hit the stage.
The band was formed in 2007 by vocalist/guitarist David Shaw and guitarist Zach Feinberg shortly after Shaw moved to the Big Easy from Hamilton, Ohio. Shaw was playing guitar and singing on his porch and Feinberg rode by on his bike, stopped to listen, and began an impromptu jam. The band has grown to the current roster which includes George Gekas on bass, Ed Williams who performs acrobatic feats on stage on the pedal steel guitar, Rob Ingraham on sax, Andrew Campanelli on drums and Mike Giradot on piano and trumpet.
Late last year, The Revivalists signed with Wind-Up records who re-released their third CD City of Sound
with a bonus second disc featuring over an hour of live tracks recorded last fall. Appropriately enough, it was released on Mardi Gras this year. With their strong roots, the band believes in giving back, donating a portion of the vinyl release to the Gulf Restoration Network, another indicator of the collective character of the musicians that form this band. In December, the band appeared on an episode of HBO's hit show Treme, as well as David Shaw and Ed Williams performed in Nolarado: A Benefit for the Colorado Flood Relief Effort at the Howlin' Wolf on December 14th.
Prolific on the tour circuit, the Revivalists own the festival scene, proving to be wildly popular at Voodoo Fest during Halloween weekend in New Orleans the past few years as well as laying their expansive footprint in venues across the country and beyond. The similarities of Brooklyn Bowl, a venue the band has played in the past, to New Orleans Rock 'N' Bowl are so strong one can only wonder if the band suffers from déjà vu when they arrive to unpack their gear.
With their soulful, rock based hits, exotic brass accents and extremely clever lyrics, The Revivalists produce superior studio releases but some of their inherent strength lies in their live performances. Front man Shaw is a striking image on stage, lanky and tall and currently sporting a substantial head of curls. If power could be harnessed from sheer energy expended, The Revivalists could light up Frenchman Street for a year singlehandedly just from a month of their live shows. Engaging the audience, Shaw's face lights up under a rock headband, high fiving the audience who crowd the front of the stage as well as climbing to perches near the stage to give the throng of fans below a thrill. The audience is part of the show and the energy goes back and forth, between Ingraham and Giradot on brass, to the stringed instruments under Feinberg and Geikas and to Campanelli holding down the fort on drums. Williams never sits still for long on the pedal steel guitar, precariously posing above the instrument. As Shaw expressively winds his way through the lyrics as he ambles across the stage, he commands all eyes on him. The funky staple "Masquerade" was met with boisterous applause. "Criminal" an instant classic, was another highlight of the night, as was "Soul's Too Loud," "When I'm Able," and "BTBD." All the moving parts of The Revivalists were tight and the sound system robust enough to showcase the set beautifully. With blue and purple lights playing against the exposed brick walls surrounding the stage, the band was perfectly in sync and couldn't be more at home. With such a spot on evening, one can only eagerly anticipate what will come next from a band that is on the cusp of exploding into greatness. Photo Credit Christine Connallon
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[Additional article contributions by Mike Perciaccante