New Orleans’ The Revivalists Are The Kings of Good Vibes

Photo: Michael Schwartz

The Revivalists brought down the house Wednesday night at The Fonda, regaling the crowd with wailing pedal steel solos and funky sax interludes, inciting frenetic dancing and leaving the crowd grinning ear to ear by the end of it all.

The group launched the evening with crowd-pleasers off their newest album, Men Amongst Mountains. Many a concert-goer sang along to the catchy “Keep Going,” the single the group has performed on myriad talk shows as their notoriety has skyrocketed, including The Today Show.

The anthem boasts a lively brass portion, and lead singer David Shaw upped the energy even further, asking the crowd, “Y’all want to sing a little bit?” He led the crowd in a feel good call-and-response exchange with typical “yeah, yeah, yeah”s and “ohh-ohh”s before moving into more complex refrains. The crowd kept right up with Shaw who was effectively beat-boxing by the end of it.

The seven-piece New Orleans jam-band has developed a cult-following due to their high-octane live shows boasting super tight instrumentation, soulful energy, and playful on-stage antics that make you want to let out a whooping holler of “Hell Yes!”  

Shaw is generally jumping off amps getting six-plus feet of air whilst literally letting his hair down, rocking his voluminous curls. Saxophonist Rob Ingraham is pushing his lungs to the limit for spicy sax solos.

Ed “Shred” Williams may be the one exception to the band’s visually prevalent energy. He remains stoic for nearly the entire show, often sipping a beer and looking as if he is truly doing this in his sleep. He’s that good. But here and there, you catch a glimmer of emotion as he smirks and just absolutely annihilates his solo on the pedal steel guitar.

The band’s energy is unparalleled, and they get down on the fast numbers as well as the slow. “Need You,” began slow and sultry, and Shaw fell to his knees to croon passionately into the mic. This frontman doesn’t sing the lyrics, he feels them. And that can’t be faked.

The band pumped up the energy for “Wish I Knew You”, encouraging a crowd competition for loudest to sing along, and rocked the feel-good anthem “Stand Up”. They slowed the pace for beautiful finger-picking guitar on “King Of What” and a devastatingly beautiful rendition of “To Love Somebody” by the Beegees, which elicited many a sigh of complete musical contentment in the crowd.

The beauty of this band is that they do what they want. Genres be damned, their songs are the stuff of rock, blues, and funk, but they’ll also get jazzy and broody, throw in some trumpet and sax, wail on some hard-rock guitar solos, and occasionally add a little country twang. They’ll often switch between a few of those styles…all in one song. And it sounds good. It sounds incredible, actually.

The band has been picking up new followers left and right, and I can nearly guarantee they’ll be fans for life. Like moths to a flame, once you catch The Revivalists live, you’re hooked.

In another city? The tour continues, so treat your ears, burn some calories and leave energized with the very best of vibes. Dates can be found here.

About The Author

Angela is a contributing editor for Blank Newspaper and covers shows in Los Angeles. She also makes her way throughout the country to various music festivals whenever possible.

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