Live Review: The Revivalists at the Boom Boom Room

There are bands in life that simply don’t translate as well to albums as they do to the stage. You know those bands that when you hear their record you think they’re pretty good, but then you see them live and you’re wowed by how energetic, lively and fun they are. I attribute that to work ethic. Many of us have a sort of feeling that we’re owed a good show when we pay our hard earned money. We want to feel like the band has earned our money by working hard for it. Now whether that’s right or not or whether we should feel that way is not for me to decide. It resides in those gray residuals of our mind we don’t like to talk about.

One of those bands played at the Boom Boom Room in San Francisco on Friday night. Coming from New Orleans, a town ravaged by poverty, misanthropic tourists, hurricanes and a burgeoning, resurgent music scene, the Revivalists put on a musical clinic. The Boom Boom Room is a compact room and they pack people in like sardines in a can. The Revivalists, a group that has been together for about four years and touring only two, went on around 9:30 and ended around 11:30.

The tiny stage held as the six members of the band moved as best they could, but what they lacked in mobility they more than made up for with the fierce energy they displayed as lead singer Dave Shaw sang with ferocity similar to someone of Mike Ness’ ilk not a fairly new band. Then again this is a band from New Orleans, the musical capital of the South, the birthplace of Jazz and the place where many of the greatest musicians have been sired.

They roared onto the stage with a sound reminiscent of Pepper, G. Love and oddly enough the Doobie Brothers. With a mix of Jazz, funk and reggae they had the crowd hooping, hollerin’ and dancing like it was a good old fashioned hootenanny. There were a few drunkards that acted like complete and utter buffoons and because of the proximity of the bands to the audience they kept trying to high-five the band. Now, if I were on stage, being the surly cuss that I am, I’d probably smack them or have them removed, but true to the clichéd Southern charm stigma that permeates Southerners even when they aren’t in the south, the boys in the band laughed high-fived the jackass right back and complemented him on his drinking skills.

Creating an atmosphere in a city that you’re unfamiliar in isn’t easy, but making that crowd your own and turning them into your own personal fan club in a city as jaded as San Francisco is damn near impossible. If anyone is able to do that, though, it’s the Revivalists, a band that came from New Orleans, but owned San Francisco.

See the Revivalists open for Gov’t Mule at the Warfield Friday September 21 and see a list of their other shows here.

Check out the Revivalists new album, City of Sound out now.

All photos are sole property of Matt De Mello & Any use without written permission of Matt De Mello and is strictly prohibited.


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