Day 1

The Revival Officially Begins

I walked up the hill still dressed for bed and promptly made some cowboy coffee with Kasidy and Tyler. It was just what the doctor ordered. Rick Gerber (Badfeather) walked through the green room with the good vibe of the day in his stride, and before too long some of the other talent started showing up.

Kasidy Baker and Meagan Coy were in charge of the hospitality in the green room, and I want to make certain I thank them for all their hard work. Their job was thankless and challenging nearly every minute of the Revival, but they smiled and persevered. They made me and my family feel at home, and their interactions with other green room guests was professional and friendly. Thank you both for all your efforts (you, too, Scott Swaby). The Revival would not have been the same without your determination.

Jon Olschewski (Stonefed) and I shared a hug and the agreed if they’d play their great original song “Kindly” tonight, then I’d feed him some of my home cooking. Guarantee I get the better end of the deal because that song is flat out awesome.

Promptly at 1:40 p.m. the Revival kicked off with local Beaver, UT country-western band Loose Connection opening with a very spirited rendition of “Somebody to Love”. I spoke with guitarist Chris Williams and he had to chuckle about being the first band, again, essentially filling the role of a live sound-check band.

I asked what he meant when he said “again”, and he explained they’d just come from the 45thAnniversary of the Summer of Love in Monterrey, CA where they’d also been invited to play, you guessed it, first. He made no bones about their presence in Monterrey: live sound-check. I chuckled, but hear this: Loose Connection are a considerably better band than perhaps he led on (and he knows that, too), but it was still great chatting with him for a few minutes after their upbeat, dance-worthy set. The Revival was definitely off to a great start and folks everywhere on the mountain were already dancing!

TKeysTalia Keys live-looped for about an hour and absolutely brought it from first note to taking a bow. I had a chance to chop it up with her after her set. She spoke about the familial nature of the bands and musicians assembled for the Revival and how it’s difficult for performing and touring artists to get to their friends’ shows because of scheduling conflicts. But the Revival, by design, was built around the open schedules of every artist so everyone can see everyone else perform. That’s family. Busy most days in their own lives, but definitely available when it really matters. So far, this has been my experience, too.

SixImpossibleThingsSix Impossible Things followed Talia, and my ears say they played six impossible songs. Truly, they were fantastic. I hate using the word “haunting” to describe female vocals, so I won’t. Instead, I’ll just say the combined efforts Secily Saunders, Heidi Nedreberg, and special guest Kate Anderson was tonally complex and rich with harmony. Super effort, and Revival goers responded enthusiastically. Finally, we can believe in impossible things.

Christian Mills (Tony Holiday Band) filled in on bass and looked right at home, just like he always does. Affable guy, truly. Thanks for offering to buy me a beer!

SamanthaLipstickVinyl Tapestries, led by dedicated frontwoman Samantha Calmes, gladly gave up a few minutes of their main-stage time to Michelle Moonshine who, due to no fault of her own, was running late and missed her time slot on the stage at the Globe Theater. A gracious gesture to be sure.

I have to admit I wasn’t fully prepared for what I heard when Vinyl Tapestries started their set. The first time I heard Samantha sing was at the Woodstock Tribute as presented by Talia Keys. I admit I wasn’t overwhelmed with her singing and sadly took little note of her and her band until the Revival.

The band created a totally psychedelic atmosphere and it was powerful. I am a fan of psychedelic music and was captivated, start to finish. Their sound is fresh and serious.

I had a chance to speak with Samantha after their set, meeting her for just the first time. I shared with her the story of the first time I heard her sing, and she held no hard feelings over my stupidity. She explained at the time “White Rabbit” was simply not in her vocal wheelhouse but gave it the old college try all the same and felt enriched by the challenging experience.

We continued to chat for quite a while, and I was totally captivated by Samantha. We hit it off very well, and for that I’m grateful. It’s safe to say Vinyl Tapestries, led by the very capable Samantha Calmes, is destined to make a mark on the music scene.

GritsGreenI’ve never been a real fan of hip hop, and there’s no reason for that, I just haven’t been. I was, however, anxious to see Grits Green. In fact, they were on my list of “must see” bands at the Revival.

The last time I’d seen them was at Talia’s Halloween Party at the State Room back in 2014. I was totally blown away at that time by their stage presence, their playful attitudes, their totally inappropriate songs, and their interaction with their audience. I’ve been a huge fan ever since, and they brought it hard at the Revival.

Ran into co-front man Rhagenetix sometime after their show, and then again here and there throughout the weekend, and we hit it off right out of the gate. I also caught up with bassist Greg Shaw (billing himself as Uncle Greg along with Jenna Talbott from Lunar Eclits who was billing herself as Aunt Jenna), and I was able to share with both of them how much I love everything about Grits Green and how much I appreciated the effort they brought that night. Can’t wait to see you guys, again!

I’ve been friends with the guys from Stonefed for a while, and slowly but surely I’d started seeing them around the mountain. Jon earlier in the day; David Mealey a bit later that afternoon; Jasper Groff a tad later than that, but where’s Ed Stone?

The sun had set, a chill was in the air, and start time was approaching when Ed finally showed up, and Stonefed were reunited with their drummer. That was good news for the midnight timeslot because the gathering of music lovers was ready to party and Stonefed’s brand of original funk was exactly what we wanted! It was good news, also, because we were quite concerned about him.

BadfeatherMeantime, Badfeather put together one the of best hard rock jams I’ve heard in a very long time. Lots of long songs, extended guitar work, and a great vibe had the crowd dancing to every note. Front man Rick Gerber was terrific tonight, and absolutely at his vocal best when he found himself in the middle of an extended jam that included Jasper Groff and Spencer Kellogg. The crowd was totally engaged from start to finish.

Guitarist Jeremy Whitesides was as good as I’ve ever heard him, and that’s saying a lot. They were definitely feeling it tonight, and so was the crowd. Very solid set and thoroughly entertaining from start to finish. Thanks, guys, for bringing it hard!

StonefedStonefed had the midnight slot, which actually started around 1am. No matter, everyone was ready to party and willing to go until dawn. They played a ruckus “Trombone Philly”, which is one of my favorite Stonefed songs. Actually, I don’t want to sell that song short. It’s one of my favorite songs by any artist. They played a flawless set, which is no small miracle given the chilly temperatures.

David Meservy (Wisebird) by way of Austin, TX by way of Flagstaff, AZ by way of Salt Lake City, UT joined the Moab-based quartet on keyboards, a role he’s jumped into recently. He adds an element of depth to already sophisticated music, and is a terrific improvisational keyboardist. I dig why they’re not a permanent quintet, but damned if they aren’t something special when they are.

My wife and son took a nap so they could see Stonefed play and then promptly didn’t wake up until morning. I think it’s this high mountain air that has them sleepier than normal. It’s a good thing they play a second set at the Revival. Rex really loves to watch Jasper play, but to date, largely because he’s only five-years-old, he’s only seen him in videos. I’ll make certain he gets to see them tomorrow night.

TonyHolidayThe Tony Holiday Band (billed as Tony Holiday and the Velvetones) were incredibly tight. After Badfeather and Stonefed, the gathered crowd—still into the hundreds—was ready for more, a lot more. Both Tony and bassist Christian Mills played to their audience, and it really paid off. The crowd was loud and full of dance throughout their set.

By request and a little convincing, Tony decided the band would play a song it doesn’t normally play, and the crowd responded with an explosive roar from the very first note of “Hip Shakin’”. You’re a stand-up guy, Tony! Thanks for playing that song. It took the Revival to a whole new level of excitement!

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