AVON — The first time The Revivalists played a string of shows in the Colorado High Country, they were hooked.
“We had never been out there and there were these kids at the show who knew the lyrics to our songs,” said George Gekas, the band’s bass player. “They were even calling out songs that weren’t even on albums. We were really happy when that happened. This is definitely one of the best music hubs in the country.”
The bonus about playing shows in Breckenridge, Avon and Aspen during the winter, like they are this week, is the eclectic audience that shows up.
“There are people from all over and it helps draw in other markets of the country,” Gekas said.
The New Orleans based band performs at Agave in Avon tonight.
“We’re excited for a big Friday night with the Revivalists, the current buzz band of New Orleans,” said Crawford Byers of Rocky Mountain Entertainment, the show promoter. “The way these guys are trending upwards, this could very well be your last chance to see them in a small club.”
It’s the group’s first time playing the venue.
“We’ll play an eclectic mix of songs,” Gekas said. “We like to tell a story with our set list, so sometimes it’ll be a harder song, followed by something softer; we might go from an electronica song into an all-country song.
“Considering we’ve never been there, usually when we play places for a first time, we try to leave a great impression,” he continued. “We’re going to want to convey what we do, and hopefully people will like it. Usually locals tend to like shows like that, and hopefully we’ll get some out-of-towners there, too.”
‘Smarter instead of harder’
The Revivalists combine traditional rock elements with horns and steel guitar, all while staying true to the band’s New Orleans roots.
It all started with the seed being planted during jam sessions at New Orleans’ “Tipitina’s Sunday Music Workshops” where drummer Andrew Campanelli and guitarist Zack Feinberg first met. The band found its front man when Feinberg heard David Shaw singing on his Birch Street porch. Fueling the rhythm section, Campanelli’s college friend, Gekas, became the bassist. Feinberg later invited saxophonist Rob Ingraham, the two realizing their incontestable dynamic while taking music classes at Tulane University. After a fortuitous meeting at French Quarter Fest, Ed Williams joined on the pedal steel guitar. The newest addition is multi-instrumentalist Michael Girardot. Having played sporadically with the band since 2009, he has grown into an integral part of the live show.
Ever since the band’s formation in 2007, the band has toured all around the U.S. and though they’re now nearly seven years in, the band is touring “smarter instead of harder,” Gekas said.
“I’d say we do anywhere from 150 to 175 shows a year, whereas we used to do over 200 a year,” he said. “Come summertime, we’ll hit it hard and be out for a month and a half and expect to hit up a lot of places all over the country, both coasts.”
The band has opened for notable acts Dr. John, Gov’t Mule, JJ Grey & Mofro, and Trombone Shorty. They’ll be playing several dates throughout 2014 including major festivals such as Wakarusa, Counterpoint Fest, Joshua Tree, Tortuga Fest, AURA Music & Arts Festival, Jazzfest and Blackstock Music Festival, among others.
‘Like a different world’
This past week, before the band set out for Colorado, they spent a week in the studio working on a new album they hope to release by fall.
“We were in a spot called Studio In The Country, in Bogalusa, Louisiana, about 70 miles north of New Orleans,” Gekas said. “We were only 70 miles from the city, but it felt like a different world. We got to hunker down for a week and flush out some songs.
“The spectrum of songs range from heavy-hitting rock songs to nice ballads,” he continued. “It’s a nice mix and I think our fans will love it. It will be worth the wait for them.”
And for those who aren’t up for the wait, the band’s album “City of Sound” is being re-released on Wind Up Records on March 4. The album was produced by Ben Ellman (Galactic, Trombone Shorty, Gypsyphonic Dysko).
“We are attaching a live album to it with eight additional live tracks spanning from various shows across the country,” Gekas said. “We released it independently at first, and now we’re hoping to get a wider reach.”
High Life Editor Caramie Schnell can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.