Artist Spotlight: Revivalists

It’s not often I am blown away by a jam band. Especially indie rock type jam bands, where every song sounds pretty much just like the last one. But on the last day of the McDowell Mountain Music Festival, the second act up on the main stage caught me by surprise and I quickly realized that they were well worth subjecting myself to heat stroke in the early afternoon Phoenix AZ sun to check out their set.

The Revivalists are definitely not just any indie rock band. They really don’t fit into that category…or any category really. They are way more out-of-the-box than that. Their infectious songs are contemporary and fresh with a touch of rock, funk and soul flavors — reminiscent of a fine gumbo from their hometown of New Orleans LA. There’s a familiarity to their sound, yet every song they play is distinct. They are almost like the musical version of a gourmet all-you-can-eat buffet. At the end of their set you are stuffed full, but still want just one more bite.

This 7-piece band has been together since 2007. Andrew Campanelli (drums) and George Gekkas (bass) provide a solid low end and Zack Feinberg (guitar) lays down some tasteful riffs. Part of what makes this band stand out in a sea of sound-alike, look-alike indie bands is Ed Williams on pedal steel guitar and the 2-piece horn section of saxophonist Rob Ingraham and trumpeter Michael Girardot (who also plays keyboards). The real ace-in-the-hole, however, is lead singer David Shaw (who also plays rhythm guitar) whose vocal style and tone is pretty much perfect for the songs this band has created — a little grungy with a whole lot of attitude. Shaw has enough vocal talent, stage presence and charisma to propel this band to the next level.

With three EPs under their belt (available on iTunes, Spotify, GooglePlay, etc.), The Revivalists have created a wide variety of music with lyrics that are well-crafted and relatable. My favorite tunes: the reggae-inspired sound of “Sunny Days” and the slow, sexy and soulful “Soulfight” from their 2008 self titled debut EP as well as the fusion sound of “Chase’s House,” the beautiful simplicity of “Up In The Air” and the rock urgency of “BTBD” from the 2013 EP City of Sound.

Earlier this year, the band was tapped to be the opening act for the west coast leg of the Umphrey’s McGee tour and The Revivalists’ horn players Rob Ingraham and Michael Girardot sat in on UM’s rendition of Wang Chung’s “Dance Hall Days” at a Seattle show. How cool is that? This type of inclusion with headlining acts can only help accelerate their climb up the ranks.

Looking at The Revivalists’ 2015 touring schedule, they play pretty much all the time and all over the US which can only help solidify their performance and gain a larger following. Upcoming festivals on their schedule are: Forecastle, Wakarusa and High Sierra Music Festivals as well as Outside Lands and the inaugural Kaaboo Festival. These festivals will benefit from having The Revivalists among their lineup. Check them out at: www. therevivalists.com