The Revivalists rambled through Houston on Wednesday at House of Blues. It was a boisterous show as the New Orleans-based band steered through a stellar set.
The Revivalists play the kind of spirited rock that one might mistake for early Kings of Leon, if your aunt didn't grab Kings of Leon records from the end cap of the Target check out aisle. Also, they have horns.
That's not to sound like I'm auditioning for a gig at Pitchfork. It's just a reality. These cats ooze cool that belies their Today Show apperance. Frontman David Shaw draws in audiences as he moves about. He doesn't necessarily command the stage, rather he has an ethereal and inviting quality whether he croons, picks up the guitar, or wanders into the audience.
Shaw's demeanor lets a beloved track like "Stand Up" carry an audience to a place where they're comfortable moving and drinking, even on a weeknight. Shaw isn't the only one who shines on the track though. As it rolls out of the bridge Rob Ingraham especially shines on sax.
Among a fistful of other lively tracks - including hit "Wish I Knew You" - a softer piece near the end of their set stole the night. On "Soul Fight" Shaw gets to show off on the mic, but the whole band joins in. Live, the track crescendos at the end, giving way to a series of solos. It's the kind of democratic approach that pleases a crowd, and the inherent passion in this group comes through.
(Photo: Thomas Joseph)
There's Ed Williams, one of the most emotive steel pedal guitarists we've seen. Ingraham gets another opportunity here, too. Michael Girardot runs about like a mad man, doing double duty on keys and picking up his trumpet on the same song.
It put a bow on a tremendous set, and this was all before the encore. Bands like The Revivalists don't come around often. They're cool enough that you feel like you're in on something special, they don't disappoint live, and they've got a catalog that feels deeper than three LPs. You won't want to miss their next trip through Houston.