Screw the Nines

March 30th, 2011

Hello, friends!  Rob here.

Another delightful weekend on the road for The Revivalists.  As I mentioned last week, it’s better for the overall economy of awesome for a band to have someone to sell merchandise for them while they are playing music.  This weekend, we were joined by one of our bestest pals in the world, Al “T” Small of The Blue Party.  Genial, genetically perfect, and generally dressed to the tens (screw the nines), Al is the type of stand-up fella whose presence is pretty much always a welcome one.

Good times were pretty much had, but not a whole lot of instances from the weekend jump out as being particularly notable.  We spent Thursday night in Starkville, and I have to say I think we were all pretty much delighted to be back.  The thing about Starkville that makes it a great town is that people there actually want to hear music they’ve never heard before.  Starkvillians make great audiences, and if there were a few more of them in every city, our job would be a lot easier.

Friday in Pensacola was like opening day.  Homecoming.  Sure, between last summer and now, we’ve been in and out of Pensacola like a vulgar simile.  But this weekend marks the opening of a season.  Summer at Bamboo Willie’s.  Eight months of it.  One weekend a month we’ll be there, in the open air, with a great view of the bay and a refreshing daiquiri, all the way through October.  I’ve always said Pensacola is The Revivalists’ second hometown, and we’re thrilled to be coming back on the regular.

Although there were all kinds of wonderful feelings going around, Friday was a bit quiet.  Saturday, however, was epic.  It must have been as big of a crowd as I’ve ever seen at Bamboo’s, and I think we were all having a pretty good show.  Good enough that we even accomodated an unusual request from an audience member.  Some kid with a weird first name that was also a profession (Brewer, or Mason, or Barrelmaker, or something like that) approached us during set break to ask if he could come onstage with us and perform a special song for his friends on this special occasion.  The song?  “Ice Ice Baby.”  The occasion?  Senior prom.

How could we refuse?  How could we possibly refuse?  And just what the were all of those high school students doing in a bar?  Goodness me, what this world is coming to?

So that happened.  We actually saw our fair share of tuxedos this weekend, between the Barrelmaker incident and Sunday, when The Revivalists suited up and played wedding band for a delightful young couple named Will and Caroline.  We’d had to spend a bit of time in the practice space last week to learn some covers for the party, but it was well worth it to be able to play their first dance (“Crush” by Dave Matthews Band, which was an interesting song to dissect and learn), and I must begrudgingly admit that bringing the house down with “When The Saints Go Marching In” was absolutely fun as all get-out.

Speaking of absolutely fun as all get-out (mark my words, “all get-out” is making a comeback), we are going to be playing music this weekend!  On Friday, we’ll be doing what we do best in Shreveport at (where else but) Fatty Arbuckle’s!  Saturday, we’ll be changing things up in Lafayette and opening for the Rebirth Brass Band (that’s not the different part) at Grant Street Dance Hall (there it is!).

Lastly, but most interestingly, tomorrow (Thursday) at 11:30 AM we’re going to be live, full-band, on WWOZ!  For those of you living under a rock, and also the rock is heavy in lead content so as to block radio signals, WWOZ is possibly the best radio station in the country.  Independent, local, and awesome, they support the New Orleans community, and, in turn, subsist upon support from the community.  We will be performing as part of their spring membership drive.  I encourage all of you to tune into 90.7 FM or listen online (those of you from out of town don’t have an excuse!), and to support ‘OZ if you like what you hear.

That’s it for this week, friends!  I’ve been on a major Beastie Boys kick as of late, so I’ll leave you with this big old heap of awesome:

WWOZ Radio Appearance 3/31/11

March 29th, 2011

We’ll be performing full band on WWOZ 90.7 FM (or wwoz.org for those not in New Orleans) at noon on Thursday March 31st as part of their 3/31/10 pledge drive. WWOZ is a true community radio station and the first station ever to play The Revivalists. Please consider donating to help keep this New Orleans gem afloat.

“Frame Store Guy” Sounds Like A Fun Job

March 23rd, 2011

Hello friends, Rob here.

So we’re in Charlotte, right?  Playing at the Double Door.  And these two older gentlemen are like, “hey, we liked your show and whatever.”  So I’m talking to these dudes, and I ask them what they do, and it turns out one of them is an actual rocket scientist.  As I recall, his area of expertise was chemical engineering, so he makes rocket fuel.  For NASA.  Well, one thing I think everyone knows about me is that there is nothing in the world I love more than drunk science lectures.  Ever the scientifically curious individual, I’m all, “whoa man, like, since you know stuff about rockets and space stuff, can you like, explain to me why we can’t go the speed of light or whatever?  I never really understood that.”  He grabs a pen and a bar napkin and, while explaining, illustrates:

You see, as objects gain velocity, they gain mass in relation to their ''resting mass,'' and if an object with mass were to reach the speed of light, its mass would become infinite, which is kind of impossible.

And that’s the story of why I have to go to a frame store and pay the frame store guy to frame a bar napkin.

DIGRESSION – IMPORTANT BAND TIP:
If you want people to buy your CDs and t-shirts and other assorted crap, have somebody there to sell your CDs and t-shirts and other assorted crap WHILE YOU ARE PLAYING MUSIC.  It works.  Find somebody you can trust, and pay them if you have to.  They’ll end up paying for themselves.

To that end, we enlisted dear friend and burgeoning New Orleans folk heroine Holly Tamale  to join us and sell our CDs and t-shirts and other assorted crap when we were playing, and then drink with us when we were not playing.  There were a few concerns about bringing a (gasp!) girl on the road with us, but Holly made for excellent company, and took to the smelly van rides, warm tequila shots and filthy locker room talk like a fish to water.

And so, rolling seven deep, we cut a swath across Georgia and the Carolinas.  Along the way some cool things happened.  In Athens, the opening band, Mochismo (I think, I can’t find them on the internet yet), was playing their first show ever!  I found this to be interminably exciting.  Then, we stayed with an acquaintance of Andrew’s who, on top of hospitality, offered us honest-to-god peach-flavored moonshine.  For how strong it smelled, it was actually pretty damn palatable.

In Charlotte, the day after the show, we were lunching at an Italian restaurant before starting the trip down to Charleston when a woman tentatively approached our table and asked us if we were “in a band?  Called The Revivalists?”  It turns out she was the mother of William Tousignant, the filmmaker with whom we were randomly paired in last week’s episode.  She doesn’t even live in Charlotte.  She was just there to visit a friend, she happened to be in the same restaurant as we were, and she recognized us from the video.  Between such an astronomically unlikely coincidence, and the previous evening’s physics lecture, my brain was about ready to explode.

Charleston sent me over the edge though.  We were sandwiched between two incredible bands, both from Asheville.  Jonathan Scales Fourchestra puts an interesting twist on Mahavishnu Orchestra-style hyper-technical progressive fusion by fronting the band on the steel drum (yes, that Jimmy Buffett island music thing).  Everything I thought I knew about steel drums was wrong.  You can destroy lives with a steel drum, and Mr. Scales does.  Vertigo Jazz Project is a trio of killer musicians who play relentless modern jazz-funk and invite saxophonists and pedal steel players from opening acts to sit in with them.  Ed and I had a great time trying to keep up for a few numbers, and then I just had to come back onstage when they played that George Michael song.

My only regret is that it did not occur to me to remove my shirt until after the fact.

Anyway, this is getting a little long, so I’m just going to give a quick rundown of this week in Revivalists shows and call it a day:

Wed, 3-23-2011 (Hey, that’s tonight!) – Baton Rouge, LA.  Blind Tiger.
Thur, 3-24-2011 – Starkville, MS.  Dark Horse Tavern
Fri, 3-25-2011 AND Sat, 3-26-2011 – Pensacola, FL.  Bamboo Willie’s (we’re back, baby!)

Sunday evening we’re playing a wedding in New Orleans, but you probably aren’t invited.  Sorry!  It should be fun though.  We have both the distinct honor and terrifying responsibility of playing the song that will be a newlywed couple’s first dance as husband and wife.  I hope we don’t screw it up!

Okay bye.

Tour Dates Added

March 22nd, 2011

We’ve posted some tour dates.

Check em out y’all.

Hey, There’s A Music Video In My Blog Post!

March 16th, 2011

Hello friends, Rob here.

We’re back!  It’s been a strange couple of months, with heavy touring, days off, Mardi Gras, Foburg, and a music video (more on that later), but tomorrow we return to a semi-regular gig schedule with shows in Athens, GA tomorrow, Charlotte, NC on Friday, and Charleston, SC on Saturday . Woooooo Carolinas!  And hells yeah Georgia!  Awesome states, those.

Alright, so what happened last weekend?  Come to think of it, what happened the week before?  Last Blog Wednesday we had a very short update, because it was too difficult to type with one hand, and I needed the other hand to alternate holding an ice pack to my forehead and administering myself an intravenous supply of electrolytes.  That whole week was kind of a blur, with some great shows on the road and at home, a lot of parades, a fair dose of yelling, and probably one or two very late nights.  I’m just going to say it went well and nobody lost too much blood or dignity or body hair and let’s move on.

Foburg was awesome.  This should not come as a surprise to anyone, as it was awesome last year, and will likely be awesome next year as well.  Our set went well, although it was a very late show made to seem even later by the fact that it was once again scheduled during daylight savings time (farmers.  Who needs ‘em?) and so everyone lost an hour about halfway through.  Still, it was a great night to be at the Blue Nile.  We’ve tread a lot of the same trails as Nashville’s Moon Taxi, and when we’re on tour it seems like everywhere we go, they were there last night or they’re going to be there tomorrow.  On Saturday, the stars finally aligned and we had the distinct pleasure of hosting them in our hometown.

And heavens, they are good.  Looking forward to playing more shows with those guys.  Anybody who covers “Baba O’Riley” is automatically on my Sheen’s List (it’s like “Dean’s List,” but hilarious and topical!  Try using it in everyday conversation!).

Anyway, late show.  After all was said and done, it was after 5:00 in the morning before we were packed up and ready to leave Blue Nile.  So… bedtime, right?  Well, yes if you were George, who had to report to work at 11:00 AM for a double shift.  For the rest of us, not so much.

You see, as we found out earlier that evening, we, along with several other distinguished New Orleans acts, would be participating in the 24 Hour Music Video Festival, which would be taking place on the same night/day as our show.  At 8 o’clock on Saturday night I attended a meeting on our behalf, where we had the good fortune to be randomly paired with William Tousignant and Sam Brantley of Ching Films.  At the conclusion of the meeting, we had the 24 hours between 9:00 PM Saturday and 9:00 PM Sunday (technically 23 hours because of daylight savings time, mind you) to start, finish and turn in a complete music video.

So when we should have been going to bed, we were instead driving over to Sam’s house to pantomime along to our music for two and a half hours.  I had taken William and Sam to my car after the meeting to listen to “Vital Signs,” pick a song, and brainstorm ideas for videos, so they already had everything set up when we arrived.  But still.

We were filming before the birds woke up.  We were filming when the birds woke up.  We were filming when the old guy with the thick German accent peeked over the fence and told us to keep it down (sorry!).  When we were done filming, it wasn’t dawn out; it was straight-up daylight.  And the truly messed-up part?  When we were done filming, William had to go home and watch and edit footage while we slept all day.  Somehow, it turned out pretty well, so I’ll use it to end the entry.  Play us out, Revivalists!

Southeast Shows This Weekend

March 16th, 2011

WHATUP INTERNET?

We’re playing in Athens, GA on Thursday night, Charlotte, NC on Friday and Charleston, SC on Saturday. See more details and our full tour schedule here

PEACE.

Foburg Festival March 12 in New Orleans

March 11th, 2011

We will be performing at this year’s Foburg festival Saturday night March 12 at the Blue Nile in New Orleans.

Foburg is a 3-day alternative music festival on March 11-13, 2011 in 15 venues on and around Frenchmen Street in the greater Marigny neighborhood of New Orleans. Foburg features rock, indie rock, and alternative artists from the greater Gulf South and national touring artists on their way to SXSW in Austin TX, which is next week.

Performing at our showcase before us will be the talented Nashville band Moon Taxi and our local little-brother-band New Grass Country Club.

Hope to see you there!

Happy National Shame Day!

March 9th, 2011

Hello friends, Rob here.

Another Mardi Gras has come and gone.  We had a nice, busy working weekend, and I think most of us actually made it to Mardi Gras Day (normally I’m sleeping it off).  There’s been all manner of silliness and sin.  Needless to say we have all accumulated a great deal for which to atone.  If you’re giving anything up for Lent, good luck!

If not, I’ll see you at the bar.

Very Late Nights

March 2nd, 2011

Hello friends, Rob here.

This is the story of four days:

Sunday, February 27, 2011

12:06 AM – Van’s packed up. Show’s done. We’ve had a wonderful hour in Birmingham. Thank goodness we were just opening tonight. We’ve got a long drive ahead of us, and today is nowhere near over.

5:06 AM – After two and a half weeks of very late nights, we’re back in New Orleans. Time to make the rounds.

5:27 AM – Dave pulls the van away from the front of my house. He still needs to run down Magazine to drop Ed, then his night will finally be over. I carry my bags up the stairs on my porch. The birds are already awake. I’m about to get an hour of sleep. I may be home, but I’m still on tour until this afternoon..

7:15 AM – Snooze button.

7:24 AM – Ah, dammit.

8:03 AM – McDonald’s Breakfast. Pick up Ed. Meet at Dave’s house.

8:56 AM – For the first time in a long time, we’re actually early for something. That something is Family Gras, an all-day outdoor Mardi Gras celebration and music festival in Metairie.

9:14 AM – Honor Society is sound checking. I am drinking from a metal water bottle filled with a mixture of Spike Hardcore Energy Drink (the benefits and dangers of which I have discussed in previous entries) and vodka. I have basically been awake since 11:00 the previous morning, so as far as I am concerned it is not currently 9:14 on a Sunday morning, but rather 21:14 on a Saturday night. It’s just a very late night. Bandmates find my logic to be unassailable.

9:45 AM – Honor Society is still sound checking. I have spilled some of my drink on my shirt. It’s not particularly noticeable.

10:30 AM – We run a quick sound check and then launch into our set.

11:08 AM – I spill more of my drink on myself while playing music. It’s slightly noticeable.

11:40 AM – I notice a couple with a baby singing along. I like when people know the words to our songs.

11:53 AM – Dave runs a lap through the audience, dives up onto the very elevated stage (with help from a chair placed strategically by a kind and thoughtful security guard), and then climbs to an even more very elevated position on the rafters of the stage. He doesn’t die, which is cool.

12:00 PM – “Thank you, Metairie! Everyone have a wonderful day and a happy Mardi Gras! Stick around for Honor Society!”

12:45 PM – George makes like he is going to spoon-feed me a bite of chicken from his gumbo backstage. It falls out of the spoon and trickles down the shoulder of my shirt before landing in my drink. It is very noticeable. It looks like I had to throw up a bit and, rather than excuse myself from whatever conversation I was having, I just turned my head to the right and let loose.

12:46 PM – I need a clean shirt. There are clean shirts in the van, but…

12:50 PM – I am now walking around the VIP area at a festival I have just played, drinking a scotch and wearing one of my own band’s t-shirts. I am officially a Class-A Douchebag.

1:22 PM – Okay, let’s go home. We’re all tired.

1:45 PM – I’m home. I’m sweaty. I’m underslept. I might be slightly buzzed. I have three saxophones and two bags full of dirty clothes to carry up to my room. It is time for lots of sleep.

Monday. February 28, 2011

9:35 AM – Welp, I’m not doing anything today.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

9:22 AM – Ditto.

Wendesday, March 2, 2011

9:50 AM – Samesies- Ah crap I have to write a blog.

The end.

Anyway, we’re back. We’ve been taking things as easily as we can. We’ve got a full weekend ahead of us, though. It looks like this:

Thursday – Fatty Arbuckle’s in Shreveport.
Friday – Artmosphere in Lafayette (apparently this show is a pajama party, so, awesome.)
Saturday – Seville Quarter in Pensacola
Sunday – Café Prytania in New Orleans
Monday – Lundi Gras at The Howlin’ Wolf in New Orleans, opening for George Porter

Everyone have a fun and safe (okay, slightly dangerous) Mardi Gras!