The Revivalists have gained notoriety playing every corner of the festival circuit the past decade, but – like most acts – the details of their instrumentation really shine at a club or indoor venue.
That was the case Wednesday night, February 15th, with the New Orleans collective closing the California leg of their “Still Feeling Good From Yesterday” Tour with a sold out show at Harlow’s Nightclub in Sacramento.
It was an intimate scene, the type that energizes musicians and spoils fans. The Revivalists opened with “Keep Going” and, to the band’s surprise, they were met with a crowd of true fans that wanted to see them, specifically, as opposed to simply catching some live music on a weeknight.
It was a powerful performance that leaned on Men Amongst Mountains, and effortlessly navigated the emotions of that project. Whether it was the somber brass highways of “Fade Away” or the skyrocketing hills of “Stand Up,” The Revivalists steadily loosened up the dance floor with every song.
The set was all-encapsulating and left little to be desired. From “Soul’s Too Loud” to the pedal steel guitar grooves of “Upright,” every member of the six-piece ensemble got to shine at some point, although saxophonist Rob Ingraham’s soul-shaking additions were the easiest to get lost in.
“Sunny Days” was the most impressive progression of the night, turning a soft, reggae bounce into The Revivalists’ trademarked blend of pounding alternative and bellowing vocals from frontman David Shaw. The jam picked up steam, intensified the tempo and was driven home by a hair-raising solo from guitarist Zack Feinberg, which was met by a lion’s roar of approval from the crowd.
In a lot of ways, The Revivalists are a natural fit for the Central Valley music scene. Alternative rock thrives in Sacramento, and adding a little Cajun spice to the mix is a welcome move in the heartland of Northern California. Togetherness through personal independence is a message that comes through the band’s music, and it’s true to the area’s culture.
The Revivalists were welcomed back for an encore, which featured their most popular song, “Wish I Knew You.” As phones scattered the space above the crowd, so did the man with the two bubble guns, who got a shout out from Ingraham at the end of the show as he emptied his clip to the tune of a yearning sing-a-long.
So, thank you linebacker-sized bubble man, for reminding us of the simpler things in stranger times.
[Photo via Christopher Baldwin in San Francisco]