Revivalists share soft, soulful set


Photo by Cory Thaxton

ULM Hawkeye

The Revivalists, a seven-piece, soul-rock band based out of New Orleans, performed for music fans at Fant-Ewing Coliseum on Friday.

The concert is one that will definitely be on the audience’s minds for a long time to come.

The smooth tunes with powerful speaker system brought a night of fun to everyone in the room.

The headliner of the event, The Revivalists, filled the coliseum with music and a pleasant ambiance that kept the crowd grooving to the soulful setlist, with songs such as, “Wish I Knew You” and “Criminal.”

Front man and lead singer, David Shaw, uses his soulful vocals to captivate the audience as his voice molds with the crowd singing every lyric with him. He even sings his lyrics in a fast, percussive way that draws influence from hip-hop at times.

The music had a rhythm section which included bassist George Gekas and drummer Andrew Campanelli as they infectiously made people move as if they were hypnotized to do so.

The rhythm set the general tone for the tunes with a smooth bluesy blend. The guitarist, Zack Feinberg, played right into that rhythm with a clean-sounding, gorgeous, red, semi-hollow guitar with reverb adding a sense of airy-tones to accent the rest of the instruments on stage.

Ed Williams, who played the pedal steel guitar, stayed above Feinberg’s rhythm guitar with catchy melodies to keep the songs fresh, and also tying the music in with a southern folk influence. Rob Ingraham brings the signature New Orleans style with his work on the saxophone.

When he’s not blaring the brass instrument, he’s providing backup vocals to complement Shaw’s vocals and add layers to the front of the music. However, this isn’t where the harmonies end; Michael Girardot, who plays the keyboards and the trumpet, also lends his vocals to add even more to the fantastical auditory experience.

He starts many songs off with root melodies on the keyboard, and is quick to pull out the trumpet to add a higher toned section of brass that plays melodies to follow up behind the vocals.

“The Revivalists provided a unique blues/rock sound that’s hard to find on the radio or at bars today. Its great to see talented musicians practicing their craft,” Michael Roboski, Coordinator of Student Activities for ULM said.

The showmanship was on point from The Revivalists.  Shaw used the entire stage to capture the audience’s attention. He made sure that everyone in the crowd was staying tuned into the band.

He would walk on the front speakers and get eye-level with the front row to sing with the fans, or he would be on either side of the stage singing away, keeping the show from getting stale.

When moments in the music built up to intense choruses and solos, the band had a way of letting the crowd know when to get excited.

Notably, whenever Giradot would leave the keyboard station and start jumping up-and-down, the audience would follow suit.

When Williams rips a solo on the stationary pedal steel guitar, he would often stand up from his seat and make his instrument a lot less stationary by tilting it forward so the crowd can watch him shred away.

The opening band for the event was Bishop Gunn, a solid rock band from Natchez, Mississippi.

These guys were the perfect choice to open up for The Revivalists because their music was virtually the opposite, but in a very good way. They played a bare-bones blues-rock genre of music that hasn’t been touched since the 70’s and 80’s.

Travis McCready, who led the band with lead vocals, also provided a musical backbone with the rhythm guitar.

His vocals remind classic rock listeners of the music their parents grew up listening to. Hudson Laird laid down the guitar solos with lighting fast precision.

He was dressed and even moved like the rock stars from the 70’s with iconic stomps and unconventional guitar techniques, like using the mic stand to play the strings.

The drums, provided by Burne Sharp, were the rock that set the foundation to these awesome tunes, and even blew the crowd away with a drum solo that started groovy, ended epically and also featured an intense crescendo from a mid-solo softness for good measure.

Dan Scott held down the rhythm with deep bass lines that tie together the drums with the aggressive guitars. Bishop Gunn ended their set with a cover of Led Zeppelin’s “Whole Lotta Love,” which perfectly explains where their band get their influences.

The crowd pulled a different type of response from the opening band than they did for the headliners. With Bishop Gunn, the fans were more likely to bob their heads up and down rather than sway back-and-forth like they did for The Revivalists.

Nevertheless, the crowd made the bands feel welcomed and ready to put on a good show.

“The best part of playing here is that the people are actually fans of the music and give us feedback that encourages us to play harder,” Bishop Gunn’s Burne Sharp said.