David Shaw stood on a short runway extending from the stage at the Greek Theatre in Los Angeles. During a brief break between songs, the lead singer of The Revivalists shared a few brief words with the supporters who surrounded him in the pit, along with the thousands more who came out for the final show of the New Orleans-based band’s 2019 Take Good Care summer tour.
“We’ve always wanted to play this venue,” Shaw said, his curly red mop of hair still tied up behind his head and his leopard-print shirt laying low beneath his blazer.
Shaw and his bandmates had every reason to be excited about the opportunity. For one, the Greek Theatre is one of LA’s most iconic venues, and has been since long before Russell Brand, Jonah Hill, and Sean Combs immortalized it on the silver screen in Get Him to the Greek.
What’s more, the Greek has become the city’s preferred haven for the Southern rock revival in recent years. In 2007, Kings of Leon played their first headlining show at a major venue in LA at the amphitheater below the Griffith Observatory. The Alabama Shakes played there multiple times between 2015 and 2016 before Brittany Howard embarked on her stellar solo project. In 2017, Saint Paul and the Broken Bones stormed the Los Feliz neighborhood with their brand of James Brown-infused brass. Dumpstaphunk made waves on LA’s Eastside as part of the One Nation Under a Groove tour—in place of fellow New Orleans funk phenomenon Galactic—which marked George Clinton’s final go-round with Parliament-Funkadelic.
And though Nathaniel Rateliff and the Nightsweats aren’t from the South (they’re based in Denver), their soulful sound both fits with those of their spiritual brethren from the Sunbelt and has gotten them to the Greek.
In many respects, then, The Revivalists can now claim to be key stewards of that movement for reasons beyond just their (mostly) radio-friendly style of Southern rock. They, too, have gotten to the Greek—and without any hijinx involving jefferies and furry walls, at that.
After headlining the 1,850-seat Wiltern in Koreatown in 2015 and playing festivals around Southern California—including the since-disbanded Arroyo Seco Weekend at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena—in the intervening years, The Revivalists appeared at the 5,870-seat Greek to see sizeable swaths of the back central sections and side terraces unoccupied, with sprinklings of empty seats in the lower sections, as well.
Not that the Revivalists seemed at all deterred by the level of attendance. Nor were those who came out on the final Friday of September any less enthusiastic in their support. Throughout a nearly two-hour set, fans danced, sang, and swayed as Shaw and his comrades serenaded them with a set list that was heavy on tracks from 2018’s Take Good Care.
After opening with “Criminal” from 2012’s City Of Sound, The Revivalists launched into a selection of mostly new material, from “You Said It All” and “You and I” to a run of “Change,” “Oh No,” “All My Friends” and “When I’m With You” from the new album. Their most recent release made an appearance during the encore, as well, with “Celebration.”
That left plenty of bandwidth for The Revivalists to dig into their catalogue of headbangers and ballads alike, with room left for favorites from other acts. They split that stylistic difference with a smattering of appearances from 2015’s Men Amongst Mountains including “It Was A Sin,” “Stand Up”, and “Amber.” They summoned a pair of deep cuts later in the show, ending the main set with “Catching Fireflies” and opening the encore with “Soulflight” from their self-titled debut EP from 2008. They offered stirring homages to the Bee Gees and The Rolling Stones with “To Love Somebody” and “You Can’t Always Get What You Want,” respectively, and teased Pink Floyd’s “Another Brick in the Wall” during their own breakout hit, “Wish I Knew You.”
With that, The Revivalists bade farewell to a cross-country odyssey that spanned the spring and summer of 2019. They have a handful of dates scheduled for the fall, mostly at music festivals and in Florida.
And though they didn’t fill the Greek Theatre to the brim, The Revivalists can take pride in knowing that they have arrived as a band of reasonable repute while retaining the requisite motivation to keep growing as a group, rather than resting on the laurels they’ve acquired along the way.
Check out a gallery of photos from Friday night’s show below courtesy of photographer Josh Martin.
For a full list of the band’s upcoming tour dates, ticketing, and more information, head to The Revivalists’ website.