Performing Arts - Music | September 13 | 7:30 p.m. | Hearst Greek Theatre
A remarkable thing happened to The Revivalists as they came upon their tenth anniversary as a band. The New Orleans-based septet scored a game-changing hit with Wish I Knew You, a wistful song from their third album, Men Amongst Mountains. Guided by dynamic percussion and punchy horns, the single features a contagious hook and feel-good chorus that has resonated with fans across all different genres. Though the album was released in July of 2015 (debuting at No. 2 on the Billboard Alternative Albums chart), the bands break out single Wish I Knew You has a rare and undeniable staying power. The song steadily picked up steam in 2016 spending over 40 weeks on the Billboard Adult Alternative Chart where it peaked at #1 and maintained for multiple weeks. By 2017, the song crossed to Alternative radio rising quickly to #1 and breaking the Billboard chart record for most single-week spins ever at Alternative radio. Wish I Knew You then peaked inside the Top 15 at Adult Pop Radio and ultimately spent 9 weeks in the Billboard Hot 100.
The seeds of The Revivalists were planted in 2007 when Feinberg, out riding his bike, came across Shaw sitting on his front porch belting an original song called Purple Heart (which wound up on The Revivalists debut album Vital Signs). Shaw had moved to New Orleans two weeks prior for its rich musical history and because he had heard the city was in need of construction workers to help rebuild the city after Hurricane Katrina. (He had just graduated from Ohio State with a degree in construction management.) Feinberg had also moved to New Orleans for the music scene and to study psychology at Tulane University. He had only been in the dorms for an hour when everyone was forced to evacuate due to the impending hurricane. That day in August 2007, Feinberg and Shaw struck up a conversation and instantly began to jam and collaborate, establishing an immediate musical connection and friendship. Within weeks they had invited Campanelli, whom Feinberg had met through workshops at New Orleans music venue Tipitinas, to join them. Rounding out the bands line-up is Ingraham, Gekas, and Girardot, whom Feinberg and Campanelli knew from Tulane and Loyola respectively, as well as Williams, whom they all knew from the local music scene.
The Revivalists played clubs like Checkpoint Charlies in New Orleans and Bamboo Willies in Pensacola, which Shaw equates to The Beatles Hamburg Years, because of the epically long shows. We played four to five hours a night and didnt have that much material, so we had to stretch and find ways to engage the crowd, he says. We made it our mission to grab every single persons attention, which is what happened. By the end of the first set, everyone who had been standing at the bar would be standing at the front of the stage. Thats when I started to realize we had something special.
They called themselves The Revivalists, which felt fitting given what the city was going through two years after the devastation of Katrina. New Orleans was finally starting to rebound, and seeing it get back on its feet at the same time that this band, which respects older styles of music, was getting together, it just felt right as a name, says Feinberg. Its about the excitement of this great American city, this great musical city, coming back to life.