Wednesday, June 6, 2012

The Revivalists -- Velvet Lounge - Jun 5 2012

The Revivalists - Thankfully the Velvet Lounge stage has enough depth for the seven members of this New Orleans outfit. And thankfully, there was just enough room to handle the rabid fans on this Tuesday night show as the Velvet Lounge was as packed as I have seen in at least a couple years (70... 80 plus perhaps?). They mentioned this was their DC debut, although their website mentioned a show at the Kennedy Center. No matter, as they have played Falls Church and apparently many people who were at those shows made it into the city to check out this vibrant live band. They have a primarily one singer, keyboards, some trumpet and percussion, drums, bass, guitars, and saxophone. Early in the set, they vacillate between funk, R&B, with soulful vocals, and even add a reggae song. Thankfully that was the only reggae beat as I felt they were trying to cover too many forms of dance music (although they wisely did not dabble in electronica). But once they found the groove of R&B moves and flat-out burning rock, they really had my jaw dropping.These guys are as locked-in as you would ever want and can generate an amazing amount of power while keeping a groove and beat going. The sound was great tonight with a lot of instruments coming together and pushing the volume just right. Although it is still early in their career (about 5 years), it is somewhat surprising they do not have an even larger following. Good hard touring should change that, as I cannot imagine this skill and energy following a proven fan-friendly path, not exploding out to really large stages. For my tastes, the execution succeeded more than the formula, although I did find it a little troubling that the high quality soulful vocals seemed to be in a surprisingly narrow range. Of course, playing an 80-minute set before breaking to come back for some more did allow me to take in a lot of songs and variety will only go so far. I did not stay the duration as there was a disturbing amount of sweet smelling smoke in the air that seemed more than just lingering on clothes. Not cool people, although in general, this was a great crowd that were here for the music and had that great connection between audience and a sincere people's band. From the old school of Dr. John to this exciting energetic group, New Orleans can still deliver the music, far more than just the famous dixieland jazz. I really don't see how the Revivalists can fail to continue to grow their audience when they are simply this damn good.
Quote of the Night: from the sax guy... "Remember an hour ago when it was really cold in here? Well you did great, give yourselves a hand.... Well, the laws of thermodynamics helped."

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