The Revivalists are a mixed-genre band of 7 members that have been touring since 2007 with 75% less hype than they deserve. The meek crowd that surrounded me, casually chatting and chasing beers, had no clue what they were in for. With Zack Feinberg tearing it up on guitar, Rob Ingraham switching from bass to alto and tenor sax, George Gekas holding an intricate bass line, Andrew Campanelli keeping the tempo changes steady on drums, Michael Girardot slamming the keys and trumpet, Ed Williams getting rowdy with his pedal steel guitar, and of course, Dave Shaw killing vocals and guitar, the sound was barely contained by The Sinclair.
The Heavy Pets opened the show, a perfect band of eclectic genres and heavy sound to rip up the stage in preparation for The Revivalists. Their funk-rock, jam band roots livened up the casual state of The Sinclair and immediately got bodies moving. They are surely ones to watch – touring all the way from Florida is just the start for this energetic bunch.
When Dave Shaw hit the stage, the energy level changed immediately and drastically. Within the first song, “Masquerade” from their most recent album, Shaw was already inches from the audience. He sat on speakers to intimately sing sweet melodies, then jumping across the stage to his band members, he growled into the mic as Girardot bent over his pedal steel guitar in bliss. The band moved swiftly through song after song from City of Sound, easing their way back to their first album, Vital Signs. They threw in easy groove songs like “Not Turn Away” and “Souls Too Loud,” and then turned it down with the easy-going “Appreciate Me II,” still holding the anxious energy with Shaw’s leap down into the crowd as he rocked out with his new fans. They ended the set making a newly-wed couple’s dream come true with their country-based song “Soulfight” before entering into one of the best songs in their repertoire, “Criminal.” Shaw continued to create an earthquake on stage, showing no depletion in stamina, while Ingraham pumped his saxophone in the air to amp things up even further and Feinberg tore through solo after solo of pure perfection with his guitar. Shaw ended the song crying into his condenser mic, head between knees, as he watched people shout with hands in the air like wild animals.
The crowd pleaded for their return with chanting and screaming and The Revivalists arrived with a vengeance. They pulled out “Whipping Post” by the Allman Brothers and slowed down the beat so dramatically at parts that our bodies were crumbling at each chord and our souls were melting at the desperate howl in Shaw’s crooning voice. With Ingraham shrieking into his sax and Feinberg shredding apart his guitar, the audience head-banged as one entity. The biggest surprise was that the roof of The Sinclair was still in tact.
No matter what song The Revivalists pulled out of their pocket, they made each one after even stronger, heavier, groovier, and funkier. They played with reggae beats and rocked the house with soulful reinventions. Every person in there was consumed by the music and, after a short break to catch their breaths, ready for a second, third and fourth dose of The Revivalists. The band is like an addiction because when they have revived you once, you’re bound to crave a revival again soon.
Setlist: Masquerade, When I’m Able, When I Die, Not Turn Away, Stand Up, Concrete, Pretty Photograph, Souls Too Loud, BTBD, Appreciate Me II, Fireflies, Soulfight, Criminal
Encore: Whipping Post