August 11 2023 Leader Bank Pavilion
Just days before this show was set to occur, I got the email indicating that a pair of tickets was available along with a photo pass. We hadn’t planned to go, and interestingly had tickets to another truly great show much closer to home the very same night, so we had a tough decision to make. But since the Revivalists rarely visit Massachusetts, and since we have become increasingly enamored with them- we decided to head to Boston.
On the way into the city we listened to selections from each of the bands and tried to get more familiar with the two that would hit the stage first. We got to the Pavilion, having found pretty easy parking despite this being the Boston waterfront on a Friday night in the summer. We walked right up to the box office and easily got our tickets and we found our seats, which were great. In fact, it seemed like nearly everywhere in the building, all seats are great seats.
Precisely at 7 the Heavy Heavy started, as the audience was just starting to gather. This band originating in Britain and founded by Will Turner and Georgie Fuller wasted no time in rightfully demanding the attention of anyone in ear shot. The band dips into timeless sounds and rock and roll rhythms- evoking the memory of classic bands like early Fleetwood Mac or more modern folk rockers like Mandolin Orange.
Both Turner and Fuller take their place on lead vocals for different songs, and the band fully fleshes out the material with blues drenched guitar licks, rich organ textures and a solid rhythm section. They definitely piqued my interest not only in the night ahead, but also in the band who I will be searching out in the future.
The first break between bands afforded us an opportunity to get a beverage and stroll near the docks and waterfront, picking up the ocean breeze which was nice on this totally perfect night for a show. I’d been to this venue once before nearly a decade ago to see Furthur on a scorchingly hot night- but tonight the weather was totally perfect. The crowd watching was fun, and the venue had the necessary amenities without shoving commercialism down our throats. The size is very managable- you know you’re at a concert- but it’s not remotely crowded even at what seemed like a capacity crowd.
Up next was Band of Horses and they were well represented in the crowd with fans sporting t-shirts and hats. This is a band with a gritty yet polished sound, and they took the stage firing on all cylinders.
The band is led by Ben Bridwell, who formed Band of Horses back in 2004 in Seattle. But while their sound has its grungy tones- Band of Horses has a much stronger trucker Americana dirt rock feel to it on stage. If you were wondering what band might result from feeding a rocker kid from the turn of this century equal parts Wilco, Jane’s Addiction, Johnny Cash, Coldplay and Marshall Tucker, wonder no more. I have no idea if this is the exact cocktail, but the influences sure are there.
Bridwell’s voice is unique so far as an Americana rock singer- but has its weird ancestral throwbacks to Roger Hogdson (Supertramp), Jon Anderson (Yes), Alan Wilson (Canned Heat) or the previously referenced Perry Farrell. None of these influences really illustrate how Bridwell creates a sound that is full on rock, country, and No Depression Americana. The resultant sound feels as if it is poured over ice in a ball jar and enjoyed on a deck next to a country river, a river capable of lulling you but occasionally raising enough energy and force to turn nasty, perhaps even dangerous.
The few songs I recognize from playlists and streaming were included in the setlist like “The Funeral” and “No One’s Gonna Love You.” And their country vibe was confirmed as more than a passing influence with the Brooks & Dunn cover “Neon Moon.” The band had plenty of pent up energy which they let boil over us slowly, going for a slow roast more than an intense flaming. Blaring guitars, pedal steel, rock solid drumming, and a thumping bass line courtesy of Matt Gentling combine to support, compliment, and at times to supply the necessary contrast to Bridwell. The dirty rocker vibe was welcome, and just oozed from the entirety of the seventy minute set thrown down by Band of Horses.
The First Song
No One’s Gonna Love You
Neon Moon (Brooks & Dunn cover)
Is There a Ghost
The Great Salt Lake
The General Specific
Another break enabled us to take another stroll, get another drink, and watch people some more. I mean, what is more fun than you and your date chilling and crowd watching, making occasional snarky remarks about strangers. It didn’t take long for the night’s final band to take the stage.
The Revivalists took the stage as a full eight piece band, led by charismatic front man David Shaw. Double drummers, bassist George Gekas, a dedicated sax player in Rob Ingraham, keys and trumpet player Michael Girardot, plus Ed Williams on pedal steel guitar. If there is a single instrumentalist that seems to share in a slice of the spotlight it’s guitarist Zack Feinberg who grabbed the spotlight at times with searing guitar solos, and at other times quietly shaped the sound with innovative guitar parts that were less volume and more craftsmanship.
David Shaw however understands that a rock band has a front man, and he has no troubles with that role. He was all over the stage, into the audience, jumping up and down, speeding things up, slowing them down, and acting as energy marshall. He has clearly taken what he has needed from the front men before him from Mick Jagger to Freddie Mercury, even a dash of modern Adam Levine GQ vibe for the ladies.
The band fired out one hit after another, whether it was a song that you knew to be a hit from radio or streaming like “Wish I Knew You” or “Soul Fight” or just songs that they were able to execute with the same level of skill and enthusiasm as those songs. It felt very fitting when early in the set Shaw and the band segued into Radiohead’s “High and Dry” covering ground that was both comforting and also interesting. Like everyone listening to it nodded and said to themselves ‘makes sense.’
An eight minute version of “Soul Fight” really hit home the point that we had made the right choice. This song has essentially felt like the anthem for my lady, as every long car ride seems to be punctuated by its presence in a traveling playlist. They managed to wring every ounce of feeling and emotion out of it, and by the end of this rendition, placed in the very middle of the set, the Revivalists had the entire audience in a simultaneous stranglehold and loving bear-hug.
Their set closed with another hit “All My Friends” and my lady remarked that it seemed early but the band had already been playing nearly ninety minutes. A very short time passed and the Revivalists re-took the stage. I just kinda knew that it was going to be a good lengthy encore and the band proved me right.
The triple encore started with “Only You” which is on the band’s latest album, Pour It Out into the Night. It’s interesting that this song has made it to encore status while only being in their live play list a couple of months. “Wish I Knew You” was the obvious meat of the encore, stretched out to a good ten minutes with each band member taking a nice long solo section. This being the song that likely introduced the majority of this audience to the band in the first place, it was a perfect sojourn to thank the audience for their presence and love of the band.
The final song “Kid” saw the entirety of The Heavy Heavy return to the stage to sing along with the Revivalists. Partway through the song some members of Band of Horses joined also. The stage was bright both in lights and in mood as everyone onstage seemed to be enjoying the musical party as much as everyone in the audience.
Overall this was a great concert. Each band really had earned their spot on the stage, and showcased all that makes them great. I’d see any of the three again, which is pretty amazing for three bands that were relatively new to me in a live setting. Great weather, great bands, an excellent venue- all of these combined to make up a perfect evening at a concert.
The Long Con
It Was a Sin
Down in the Dirt
Otherside of Paradise (>)
High and Dry (Radiohead cover)
Pour It Out Into the Night
How We Move (David went into the crowd)
Good Old Days (David went into the crowd)
Don’t Look Back
You and I
All My Friends
Wish I Knew You
Kid (with The Heavy Heavy) (Band of Horses made an appearance at the end)