The Revivalists kicked off a brief tour out West at a chilly and windy Harrah’s Reno on Friday, opening the Plaza Series for 2018. In classic Reno Memorial Day Weekend fashion, the weather was garbage. Fortunately, the band onstage was hot New Orleans blues, rock and soul, generating plenty of heat for hearty fans to absorb.
Frontman David Shaw — who grabbed a microphone as he walked across stage and asked “is it always this cold here?” — was his usual engaging self. A makeshift catwalk was constructed in the photo pit and Shaw used it on numerous occasions to draw close to the fans, while occasionally hopping off and getting right down on ground level with them, as well.
Guitarist Zack Feinberg, saxophonist Rob Ingraham and pedal steel player Ed Williams were all in tow, but the band seemed to have traded keys and trumpet man Michael Girardot for a second drummer since its last appearance at Crystal Bay.
The set contained several tunes from a forthcoming record, which Shaw mentioned with some relief that it’s finished but did not provide a date other than “in the future” for release. The band shared several of the fresh cuts, all of which fit nicely into The Revivalists’ wheelhouse, including “You And I,” “When I’m With You” and “Change.”
The soulful “Amber,” the swampy blues number “Fade Away” and blue-eyed soul “Need You” were three of the six tunes from 2015’s “Men Against Mountains.” The latter being when I noticed a missing trumpeter since it’s a feature of the track. Having seen them a couple of times, it’s clear that entire album live is money in the bank. What a comfort it must be for these boys from the Bayou that they can roll any selection onto a set list.
The high-energy “Catching Fireflies” closed the main set, as Ingraham tradied off with Shaw to jump out on the catwalk, wailing on his sax for an appreciative crowd. A quick set break saw Shaw and Feinberg lead off the encore with an acoustic duo version of “Shoot You Down.”
From there, they brought it home with three Revivalists stalwarts, all from the “Mountains” album. “All In The Family” got a little different treatment, eschewing the all-acoustic versions performed in the past and staying electric, including the insertion of a double-drummer duel section. It was nice to see the changeup signal growth of their live performance with the rearrangement.
“Wish I knew You,” with some finale worthy jams, capped off the gig before their appearance at BottleRock festival in Napa this weekend to launch their plentiful summer festival run.
– Michael Smyth
- The Revivalists
Harrah’s Reno Plaza Series
Friday May 26, 2018
You And I
When I’m With You
Up In The Air
Shoot You Down (acoustic)
All In The Family
It Was A Sin
Wish I Knew You