While many have deemed 2016 one of the worst years in recent memory, one group of local boys will remember 2016 as the year they hit the big time. The Revivalists made a name for themselves long ago, and this year saw almost a decade of relentless touring pay off with sold-out shows across the country, appearances on Conan and Ellen, and a #1 hit song on Billboard’s Adult Alternative charts. With such a big year under their belt it was only fitting for the boys to play a triumphant hometown show at The Orpheum Theater to cap off the year.
Seratones, another Louisiana band hitting the big time, kicked off the night with a jolt of hard-rocking garage soul that certainly earned them some new fans. Hot on the heels of an explosive performance at Voodoo in October, Seratones are quickly making a name for themselves outside of their native Shreveport. The band ripped through their debut album Get Gone with the swagger of a band twice their age. Singles “Don’t Need It” and “Chandelier” showed off the band’s raw power, with singer/guitarist AJ Haynes howling and yelping like a bonafide rock star.
The Revivalists took the stage shortly after 10:30 to thunderous applause from the capacity crowd. The band came out swinging with their infectious blend of funk, rock, roots, and soul as the crowd sang along to every song. David Shaw’s distinct baritone sounded better than ever and he has clearly mastered the art of frontman, striking the perfect balance as a confident leader who doesn’t overpower the rest of the band. Pedal steel virtuoso Ed Williams was in top form as he unleashed a barrage of incredible solos from his notoriously difficult instrument and the band’s small but mighty horn section added the perfect amount of New Orleans flair.
As the midnight hour approached, the band launched into a spot-on rendition of George Michael’s “Faith” that ensured a smooth transition into 2017. As black and gold balloons rained down, the band effortlessly stretched out the song with an extended breakdown. The next cover, George Harrison’s “All Things Must Pass,” started as a mellow tribute to another year gone and ended as an uplifting prayer to better times ahead. The one-two punch of “Wish I Knew You” and “Criminal” ended the show on a high note and sent the crowd off into the night for their next New Year’s adventure.
If 2016 was the year The Revivalists broke onto the national scene, 2017 is already shaping up to be the year the band becomes a household name. Their never-ending tour resumes at the end of the month with a trip aboard Jam Cruise before heading out West for a string of shows. Expect to see the band back at the Fairgrounds for Jazz Fest, likely playing to an even bigger crowd than last year and drawing fans from across the country. Less than a decade into their career, The Revivalists have already proved themselves to be one of the biggest bands to come out of New Orleans in the 21st century.