J.J. Grey and Mofro join show on Wednesday
The Revivalists, a rock band based in New Orleans, kick starts its sound with the funk flavors that permeate the band’s city of origin.
The group, which opens a six-week tour Wednesday at the Varsity Theatre in Baton Rouge, spent most of the summer traveling the nation, playing such major festivals as Mountain Jam, Hangout, Gathering of the Vibes and Bonnaroo.
A prime-time evening show at the Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival in Manchester, Tenn., was a highlight.
“There were a lot of people who had never heard us before, a lot of people who had heard us,” singer and frontman David Shaw said this week. “We gave it our all and people in the audience gave it their all. It was my favorite show of the summer tour.”
Shaw and the seven-member Revivalists play about 175 shows a year, less than 10 of them in New Orleans. The numerical difference between at home and away shows doesn’t mean the band doesn’t love playing locally.
“The band was spawned out of New Orleans,” Shaw said. “People here have taken us under their wing. We definitely don’t take it easy when we play to the hometown people. Not that we ever phone it in, but we hit it hard for our hometown.”
The members of the Revivalists, like many musicians, artists, actors, filmmakers and writers, moved to New Orleans from elsewhere. Shaw left his native Ohio after college to pursue music in the city. His bandmates moved there to attend either Loyola or Tulane universities. They all met in 2007.
Shaw, who was not well-acquainted with the city’s music scene, moved there in part because he had a place to live waiting for him. A friend of his then girlfriend needed roommates.
“We had a connection there already,” Shaw said. “And then I checked out the music scene.”
Another member of the Revivalists, guitarist Zack Feinberg, helped guide Shaw through the local music scene.
“Zack really expanded my musical mind and taste,” Shaw said. “I don’t want to be cliché, but the life blood of the city definitely is music. Everything else is pretty much secondary, including work.”
The variety of music in New Orleans, and the instinctively funky quality much of the local music has, affected the Revivalists.
“It can be a straight rock song but we’re going to put a funk beat on and swing it a little bit,” Shaw said.
The Revivalists also want every new song they create to be unlike the songs that went before it.
“A lot of bands, they’ve got one song that they write over and over,” Shaw said. “We don’t do that. We want to be the opposite of that. Every song has its unique voice. We let it sing its song, be what it is.”