The Fellowship of the Vibe: Revibe’s Fond Farewell
by Dave Rocha of Truth Virus Records
Music has been, and will likely always be, one of the most powerful forces in my life. It has the ability to connect us with strangers, remind us of memories we hadn’t contemplated in ages, provide sanctuary when we feel alone, and to simply make us feel better in the moment. Revibe has been a band that has accompanied me through many different life circumstances and struggles. It is difficult for me to write this piece; I don’t feel I can properly do this band and the way they’ve changed my life justice in just a few short paragraphs, but for now, it will have to do.
Revibe’s origin is an interesting one. Members Lewis Gillies (Keys, Synth, Guitar, Vocals) and Dave Luongo (Guitar) grew up together in Cape Elizabeth, ME. They shared a passion for music and helped each other expand their sonic abilities. Dave decided to attend the University of Vermont, and Lewis, after finishing his degree at Full Sail in Florida, later reconnected with Dave in Burlington, VT where they met the rest of the heroes in our story. Dave later allied with Chad Bigelow (Bass, Vocals) where their story takes an unexpected twist: in the form of a chicken wing restaurant as their new headquarters. All three began working at this new base of operations, where they befriended Sam Pratt (Drums, Percussion), and the rest, I guess you could say, was history. In December of 2011, the Fellowship of the Vibe known as Revibe was born into existence. For a short period of time, Trevor Best also joined as a dual-drummer, creating a powerful force to be reckoned with but left shortly after becoming a father.
Fast forward to Saturday, May 25th, 2019. I’m driving from Bangor, ME to Burlington, VT to bid farewell to a band that literally changed my life. Three years before, when I was struggling with some serious life issues, I happened to stumble upon their campfire at a festival at Freedom Field in Harmony, ME. They gave me their studio album Stitched in Fiction, and they gave me some contact info. I brought the CD home, dove deep into the music, and was blown away. Their music blended funk, jazz fusion, electronica, and progressive rock, which is an amalgamation of sounds and genres that are not found in the jam community all too often. I immediately reached out to them, offering any help I could provide to help them make more of an impact in the world with their music, reach new listeners, and travel to new areas. They were kind enough to allow me to join Team Vibe. Little did I know that the connection with this band and my dedication to this project would give me a purpose that brought me back to life. They pulled me out of deep depression and gave me a gift that I’m unsure I’ll ever be able to repay.
Back to that melancholy drive. My face was soaked with tears for the entirety of the journey. So many memories came swirling into my peripheral vision; so much love and gratitude for not only their music, but the friendships that I forged with these beautiful human beings. I have built an amazing and unique connection with each member of the band, often consoling one another through tears, emotional pain, relationship struggles, and countless other situations and scenarios, while also lifting each other up, encouraging one another, appreciating each other’s creative minds, and respecting everyone’s dedication to the project. (Side note: their parents and I are all on a first-name basis, and I have crashed in their families spare bedrooms a number of times; this band has become my family.)
The lights in Burlington’s famous Nectar’s (home to such notable bands as Phish and Twiddle) went down and the crowd was beginning to fill. The band members were squeezing in some last minute practice, and I was taking the time to connect and catch up with each of these wonderful creators. Sharing stories and laughs like we always did helped to ease my nerves and emotions. The time soon came when Revibe would play their last ever performance at the venue where they built their following… then the opening notes were struck.
The first set was an homage to all their friends they’ve played music with over the years (I’d also like to mention that Binger, a band Revibe grew together within the Burlington music scene, opened the night). A number of artists that influenced Revibe over the years took the stage throughout the first set, namely Nick Losito from The Red Newts and Joe Agnello from Swimmer. Kyle Rose, a longtime friend, conducted an orchestra of lights throughout the night. It was a beautiful memorial to some of the band’s closest friends, and it was difficult to find someone in the crowd that didn’t have tears in their eyes at some point throughout the show.
The second set, however, that was the real moment of magic. The band reunited with their longtime friend and former bandmate Trevor Best to recreate their magnum opus, Stitched in Fiction, in its entirety. For those who aren’t aware, Revibe released their first studio album in June of 2015. They ran a successful crowdsourcing campaign to support the album, thanks to their many new listeners they garnered through their incredible live performances. To show their gratitude, to this day Revibe allows people to download the album for free from their Bandcamp page. Trevor hadn’t played with the band since he left years before to focus his energy and attention on his newborn child, so this was truly a special moment. The band was not only bidding farewell to this musical project, but it was also a reunion show in a number of ways.
After juggling relationships, day jobs, career opportunities, and exhausted from touring and their 2 year expedition to the studios to release their second album, I am the Sea and You are the Sky, (which, might I add, is an absolute masterpiece) Revibe decided it was best to take an indefinite hiatus. It was not a matter of ill will between any members. It was, in fact, a moment of support and true brotherhood, and respect for each member’s own personal choices. Tears of joy cascaded all around as a final group hug took place among their friends and biggest supporters in the backstage parking lot of Nectar’s. The band members each made their goodbyes, and I caught a very special moment where Dave hugged Chad and said, “Well, I guess this is goodbye… for now.” It was touching. Beautiful. Sad. And inspiring.
I can honestly say this final performance was one of the best shows I have ever seen in my life, both musically and emotionally. The crowd sang along through the entire show and danced until they were exhausted. The band played their hearts out (Chad played so passionately that there was a small blood blister on his middle finger in the shape of a heart). It was a mix of so many overwhelming emotions that anyone in attendance couldn’t help but be left in a state of awe. This band, who has pushed the musical envelope for 8 years, created a bond with so many friends and fans throughout their journey, left behind two beautiful albums of storytelling, humor, and thought provoking concepts, left every ounce of energy on the stage and in our memories that night. I couldn’t help but think as I walked through the Burlington rain towards my vehicle after the show that the rest of Vermont was lovingly crying with me.
Find out more about Revibe
Revibe is comprised of four people who share a passion for music and happened to be in the right place at the right time (in the form of a chicken wing delivery service). They are often described as a “jam band,” which is accurate given the tendency for exploratory improvisation. To make the assumption that they can be easily compared to any number of prominent groups dubbed with this title, however, is quite misleading. Their genre and style are hard to pin down as it changes show to show and song to song as the band members’ diverse musical tastes and backgrounds, drawn from experiences in both listening and playing, shine through. In addition to their unique approach to musical exploration, they take great care in their composition and carefully craft their material to provide familiar islands in a sea of improvisation. Whether previously sculpted or created in the moment, expect to hear everything from jazz to trance, funk to rock or any fusion of their varied collection of genres. One thing is sure, you’ll always end up dancing.
Dedication to keeping their setlists fresh and always writing new material makes them worth catching when the opportunity arises. Emerging as an upcoming force in the Northeast live music scene, Revibe strives to define the sum of hard work, dedication, and passion for the sonic arts. Still fresh off the release of their debut studio album Stitched In Fiction, the band continues to expand their touring territory to provide their growing fan base with new material and will do so as long as inspiration guides the way. The band always celebrates returning to their home base of Burlington, Vermont, where a dedicated and ever-expanding following gathers regularly to help battle the Cratch and celebrate the vibe. But what is the Cratch, you ask? Come to a performance and find out for yourself…