Revivalists work New Orleans vibe
Donna Isbell Walker, [email protected]:17 a.m. EDT August 23, 2016
The Revivalists are renowned for their spirited, take-no-prisoners live shows.
The New Orleans-based funk/rock/jam band plays it loud and raucous, accented with horns, pedal steel guitar, and down-and-dirty energy.
Revivalists keyboard and trumpet player Michael Girardot says the audience shares in the credit for the funky exuberance that characterizes the band’s live performances.
“It’s the audience, really,” Girardot said in a recent phone interview. “When you get into a room or get in front of people at a festival, there’s something that happens where it’s no longer just your energy. It becomes a communal energy, and you’re bringing everybody together. And at a really good live show, you can do things that you never expected to do because you’re feeding off the energy of everybody there. And that’s the best feeling.”
The Revivalists, who perform Friday at the Peace Center in the final Rock the River concert of the season, play music that’s shot through with threads of jam, funk, rock, and a hint of pop. And, Girardot said, “there’s a little bit of New Orleans in everything.”
But because the seven members of the Revivalists are so different, it’s hard to pinpoint which elements form the backbone of the music, Girardot said.
“I think the foundation of the music is being true to all seven of our (members’) influences and not denying that we come from all different places,” he said. “There are seven of us in the band. We all contribute to creating the songs and creating the music, and we all come from very different musical backgrounds.”
The Revivalists came together in New Orleans in 2007, and Girardot joined a few years later. Most of the band members met through “happenstance circumstances,” but Girardot, who was playing in several other bands at the time, never really had a formal invitation to join the band.
Often, one of Girardot’s other bands would play on the same bill as the Revivalists, and “I’d sit in with them. I ended up recording for them on trumpet, and then the next album, I recorded keys and trumpet. And then I just kind of started showing up and playing at the gigs, and they started asking me to come on the road with them, and gradually I discovered that I was part of the band. It’s cool; it’s a great group of guys.”
The New Orleans music scene is like that, he said. A wealth of music flows out of the Big Easy, but despite the amount of competition a band faces, there’s still a cooperative spirit in the music community.
“Everyone’s trying to help each other up. It’s definitely competitive, and you’ve got to be really good to stand out and to make an impact on fans in New Orleans. But all the other musicians are trying to help you out, trying to help you get better, and having you come to their gigs and sit in with them and coming and sitting in with you. So it’s a real positive thing.”
YOU CAN GO
Who: The Revivalists
When: 8 p.m. Friday
Where: Peace Center’s TD Stage
How much: $30
For more: www.peacecenter.org