Emily Hingle

The Revivalists Rev It Up Before Jazz Fest

15:29 May 09, 2022
By: Emily Hingle

The Revivalists are surging in popularity around the world, but they made ample time to put on an amazing hometown show for their first fans just before their Jazz Fest appearance. Not only did they pack Mardi Gras World's event space, their biggest fans were invited to a small pre-show to get a little bit closer in the sultry spring evening.

The RevHeads Ball had plenty of happy uberfans hungry for their favorite band. Unlike their big stage shows, The Revivalists took seats on the stage and began by playing an intimate pre-show outside with the massive Louis Armstrong Paddleboat as a backdrop. In addition to their own semi-stripped down songs, the guys played several covers including Buffalo Springfield's "For What It's Worth" to the excitement of the crowd. David Shaw voiced his opinion about certain issues facing a woman's right to choose which seemed to be a crowd pleaser. He eventually took his jacket and shirt off in the steamy night to which his bandmates jokingly played a burlesque tune accompaniment. This felt more like a family reunion, and it felt so nice to be so close during a time of such large-scale revelry.

They finished this set and told us to wait for them inside. The Preservation Hall Jazz Band entertained with some fantastic jazz band classics. People still in their Jazz Fest garb and people who had just come from fancy restaurants co-mingled in a most amusing manner, and they danced together. I particularly enjoyed when Gladney and Charlie Gabriel played dueling saxophones. Mr. Gabriel is also the Preservation Hall Foundation's Musical Director, FYI.

The lights darkened, and a huge red neon heart above the stage began to beat. Slowly at first, then faster, faster, faster…. The anticipation for what was going to happen became nearly unbearable. The Revivalists burst onto the stage in front of this much more massive crowd. David explained that this show was supposed to happen two years ago, and they were overjoyed to finally be able to perform it.

From soulful serenades to blood-pumping stompers, David, Zack, Michael, PJ, Andrew, George, Rob, and Ed made that big room feel just as small and intimate as that outside pre-show. "Soulfight" and "It Was a Sin" were particularly groovy for this hot spring night on the river. And "Catching Fireflies" just felt so nostalgic and sweet. I think the best aspect of this show was that it brought it all home. It was removed from the chaos that Jazz Fest can feel like when you're there, but just raucous enough to keep you in a festive mood. It felt like coming back home.

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