The Revivalists brought something special to the stage Sunday night at the Crystal Bay Casino that charmed a packed Crown Room to dance in the palm of its hand.
When you got it, you got it and the New Orleans seven-piece has something pulsing through it that most bands don’t. Touring behind a strong album in last year’s “Men Amongst Mountains,” David Shaw (vocals), Zack Feinberg (guitar), Ed Williams (pedal steel guitar), Rob Ingraham (saxophone), George Gekas (bass), Michael Girardot (keys, trumpets) and Andrew Campanelli (drums) brought fiery passion to the stage, resonating with a crowd that came to be wowed. Plain and simple the Revivalists knocked out the concertgoers and left them needing more, delivering an outstanding performance.
The musicians roared onto the stage to tenacious applause and they looked generally stoked to be there. The band had played the smaller Red Room before and there were obviously people in the front who had been followers since at least that first show, eagerly awaiting the group’s return to the lake. The slender giant Shaw towered over the audience, smiling before he urged everyone to raise their hands in unison as they jumped into the catchy “Stand Up.” A simple but effective hook gripped the crowd as Williams and Feinberg treated everyone to tasty licks back and forth, the groove burying deeper with each passing measure. After a powerful send-off from Ingraham’s daring pipes, there wasn’t a person in the crowd who wasn’t transfixed by what was happening in front of them.
The Revivalists were unrelenting in pouring their heart, sweat and guts into the songs and encouraging the fans to do the same. Shaw was a social butterfly, fluttering around to pockets of energy in the throbbing crowd and getting down to floor level, vibing with fans in the front row. At one point he tip-toed and edged his way around the side of the venue on the Crown Room’s side bar and dropped some verses over the revved mass of dancing bodies. He was all smiles throughout the night and his mellow yet piercing voice cut through the packed house on the slow burner “Fade Away” and built the energy up on the joyful “Keep Going.”
Shaw was matched in intensity and tenacity by the bubbling wall of sound behind him. The Revivalists occupy such an interesting intersection of slick soul with groove-oriented rock and a bend toward a hip-hop rhythm section. “Amber” was an intoxicating slip of the hips that percolated over Campanelli’s steady beat and Gekas’ warm hues of bass. But the sultry bounce eventually erupted into crashing horns and cascading guitars, over which Shaw howled. Feinberg’s Spanish-tinged acoustic picking on “Gold To Glass” gave a trip-hop element to the song that the band enhanced with smooth contours of Girardot’s trumpet and Ingraham’s saxophone.
When you got to a concert you always hope to find a connection to the spectacle in front of you. The music becomes more meaningful when you see the impact that the sound has on its creators, when performed live for an audience. The Revivalists on Sunday supercharged that connection with an honest performance that made the night feel like everyone was in it together and that music was our guiding force.