THE REVIVALISTS BRING IT BACK TO BASICS
Watching David Shaw & Zach Feinberg (The Revivalists) perform their intimate acoustic set inside of Preservation Hall triggered a wide range of emotions for the small crowd during our Weekend With KREWE. From soulful covers to stripped-down versions of their own hit tracks such as “Wish I Knew You,” the packed room was feeling it— and so were the performers. For Shaw and Feinberg, this full circle moment called to mind their early days performing as a twosome.
“It’s a different vibe: it’s intimate and charming. I love the broken down acoustic because it’s something different than we’re used to playing,” says The Revivalists guitarist Feinberg. “I can explore during a song, change things up, and play something different.”
From discovering their shared passion for music on the streets of New Orleans to sharing the stage together at the iconic Preservation Hall, things have come full circle for Shaw and Feinberg. We spoke with Feinberg ahead of the pair’s performance to talk about the band’s early days, memorable performances at Bamboo Willie’s Beachside Bar, and repping KREWE frames across the nation.
CAN YOU GIVE US SOME BACKGROUND ON HOW YOU AND DAVID MET TO FORM THE REVIVALISTS?
I was a 20-year-old student at Tulane University when I was riding my bike and discovered our lead singer [David Shaw] playing guitar and belting it out on his front porch like a true frontman. No one else was out there— just the graveyard across the street. I thought to myself, damn this guy is good. I told him not to stop playing because of me and we later struck up a conversation once he was done playing. He asked me if I played, and from there, the two of us performed two shows together at Igor’s Checkpoint Charlie’s.
WHAT WAS IT LIKE EXPANDING THE ORIGINAL DUO TO INCLUDE MORE MEMBERS?
I met our drummer Andrew [Campanelli] at Tipitina’s Sunday Youth Music Workshops, so we brought him into the fold and he knew our future bass player George [Gekas] from Loyola University New Orleans. Our sax player Rob [Ingraham] was my lab partner and we had worked on a bunch of music together at Tulane. I think Andrew, Dave, and George met Ed Williams, our pedal steel player, at a show and brought him in. Mike Gerardo was in a ton of indie rock bands while at Loyola, so he came next. It made sense musically and in a friendship aspect. It was very natural.
HOW DID THE CITY OF NEW ORLEANS TAKE TO THE REVIVALISTS? DID YOU FIND IT TO BE AN ACCEPTING COMMUNITY?
Extremely. It’s not a cutthroat kind of town; it’s very nurturing and supportive. It’s easy to get gigs early on too, because there are so many venues.
NEW ORLEANS IS OBVIOUSLY A CITY THAT'S RICH IN MUSIC AND CULTURE. HOW DOES IT INFLUENCE YOUR SOUND?
There’s definitely a distinctive New Orleans vibe that rubs off on us somewhat, and we were also drawn to New Orleans because of its live music scene. We’re not a jazz band— we’re a rock group— but we’re certainly into the funkier aspects of what would be considered the “New Orleans sound.” We’re students of music, and we’re lifelong fans of The Meters and Galactic. We love Dr. John and early rock ‘n’ roll, like Little Richard’s songs that were recorded on Rampart Street in what is now a laundromat. I think there’s a funky swagger and soulfulness that’s pretty “New Orleans” that comes across in our music. You can definitely feel it in the live shows. We’ll pull out some of the New Orleans tricks, like going into the crowd or using the breakdowns and party aspects of the show.
DO THE REVIVALISTS HAVE ANY STANDOUT SHOWS THAT HAVE DEFINED YOUR LIVE ACTS?
Our early days in Pensacola, Florida were memorable. For two years, we used to do shows at Bamboo Willie’s Beachside Bar for one weekend a month during the summer. It was awesome; it was us really cutting our teeth and figuring out what the crowd really loved. We refer to it as our own Hamburg.
TYING THINGS BACK TO KREWE, WHAT DOES "KREWE" MEAN TO YOU?
KREWE is “your boys”... your gang... it’s who you roll with. We love KREWE. It’s so cool that this brand from New Orleans has become nationally-recognized and respected. It makes you proud to see people wearing KREWE while we’re traveling around cities like D.C., or Seattle and New York.
WHAT WERE YOU MOST EXCITED FOR DURING A WEEKEND WITH KREWE?
Playing in Preservation Hall was a first for me. It’s a historic spot in an amazing room. I also really like playing shows just Dave and I. It’s a different vibe: it’s intimate and charming. I love the broken down acoustic. It’s something different than we’re used to playing. I can explore during a song, change things up, and play something different.
WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR FAVORITE SPOTS IN NEW ORLEANS?
Maple Leaf holds a special place in my heart. I remember peering through the stage door to watch Papa Grows Funk when I was underage and just loved it. One of my favorite places to go (that you won’t find on “New Orleans Top Ten” list) is a sushi bar on Frenchmen called Yuki Izakaya. You feel like you’re in a spy movie when you’re in there. N7 is a cool hidden alcove of a spot in the Bywater with a really cool atmosphere. They have this can-to-table thing, where there’s a lot of canned seafood. I love Peche, Bucherie, Sólo Espresso in the Bywater has amazing coffee.