The Revivalists and Stop Light Observations at the Music Farm — A Show Review

Not many people can say that they’ve danced next to Santa Claus and a minion to the magical sounds picked on a pedal steel guitar…but I can. Amongst other humans disguised as creatures and animals disguised as humans, Halloween night at the Music Farm echoed in its walls a type of show that still resonates within me nearly a week later. With globe string lights hung above our heads illuminating each face with strobing colors from teal to pink, Stop Light Observation and The Revivalists came together to put on a sold out show that I was definitely not prepared for.

Stop Light Observations has come on my Spotify Discover Weekly playlist maybe once or twice before, so I was hardly familiar with their sound, but their composition of instruments and lyrics had me sold instantly. Also worth noting was the speed at which my heart filled to full capacity when they came out on stage with a lil’ french bulldog whose name I believe is Lou, wearing his own pair of earplugs and of course, a Halloween cape. Nonchalantly finding anywhere on stage which he found a fit place to rest, yawning throughout the set as he slipped in and out of naps, it is safe to say that Lou is my idol. After pulling it together from gushing over the pup, emotions rang high again as Stop Light Observations began to perform. Lou and the other four members, Will Blackburn (lead vocals), John Keith “Cubby” Culbreth (piano/guitar/synth), Louis Duffie (lead guitar), and Luke Withers (drums) together create a unique style that seemed to tell a story with every song. The most moving song of their performance was, for me, “Security” off of their album Toogoodoo. It started off with two notes ringing through the amplifiers with such a deepness I could feel in my whole body. Slowly each person came in with his instrument to create a beautiful piece that seeks to question the meaning of what so many people seem to value. Emphasizing the clutter of unnecessary materialistic things in our lives, Louis sings out that they merely give us a false sense of -as the title of the song says- security.  The takeaway from their performance as Cubby states, “There’s no such thing as security, and all the answers you’re searching for and the fulfillment you want is a daily struggle that lives within you…. It’s your responsibility to love and accept yourself and to share the energy you receive from that with others.”

After a short break to give me time to recover from Stop Light Observations, The Revivalists finally came on stage. Their instruments laced with cobwebs and their eyes circled with black makeup, they were ready to bring the tempo up with band members Michael Girardot (keys), Zack Feinberg (guitar), Ed “Shred” Williams (pedal steel), Rob Ingraham (saxophone), George Gekas (bass), Andrew Campanelli (drums), and frontman David Shaw. I’ve never seen a show that rocked a pedal steel guitar so hard, and I doubt I ever will. Chants screaming “Ed” prompted many incredible and indescribable solos. Raw talent radiated from the array of instruments on stage and was accompanied by David Shaw’s voice that harnesses unreal power and soul. The energy of each song ranged but beautifully flowed together during a span of time that almost seems blurred together because it was just that smooth and they were just that in sync. Shaw brought so much hype as he climbed on the rails in front of the pit and sang over a lucky few, including myself. His presence on stage as he danced with the other band members was enchanting to watch; his passion was infectious. Though a lot of the audience was familiar with the set of songs throughout the show, when The Revivalists started to strum the tune of “Soulfight”, everyone lit up. The atmosphere in the room became heavy as I looked around to see each person clinging to every verse. Listening to a song for months and being able to see it live with other people who know it just the same is always an amazing opportunity, and I was lucky to get the chance to have the experience again. As we all sang together, our voices pushing against the walls of Music Farm, it was so clear how much this song in particular had impacted each and every one of us in some way. If you have ever heard the song before, it’s hard to deny its capability of making you feel deeply. The best way I can put it in words, is it creates in me a strong desire to grab someone I love, hold them close and tell them I love them. The Revivalists ended the show giving each member a chance to showcase their skills with solos that continued to exceed my expectations; from the sax riff to the pedal steel solo..

To end this review I think it’s only fair to leave with this message taken from a verse in “Soulfight”:

“So I’m gonna stand here by your fire

Cause it’s a cold one tonight

I’m taking care of soulfight

And you’re the reason why

I don’t ask questions, I don’t tell no lies

And that’s the reason why

I’m taking care of soul fight

And you’re the reason why”

We don’t live in a picture perfect world and it’s not always easy, so we’ve got to take care of ourselves; but most of all, we’ve got to take care of each other.

Written by Rose Hefferon

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