Concert Review: The Dustbowl Revival at DC9

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The Dustbowl Revival

How many bands can describe themselves thusly?

“The Dustbowl Revival is a Venice, CA-based roots collective playing a raucous brand of mountain bluegrass, ethnic swing and swamp-blues”

Correct me if I’m wrong, but I believe the answer is NONE. TBR appeals to folkies, newgrassers, big band-ers and everyone in between. These Californians have  been recording together since 2008, and their newest CD Carry Me Home, released this year, opened the floodgates. After high praise and even a feature on SiriusXM, they hit the East coast for the first time.  For those of us fortunate enough to be at DC9 one night in August, magic was in the air.

Frontman Zach Lupetin expertly directed his crew of over five musicians (they usually play with seven to ten members– hence, “collective”), including a trombone, trumpet, ukelele, washboard, standup bass and fiddle. They tore through old favorites from 2011’s Holy Ghost Station, but the most care was given to new songs from their latest album. “Shine” is a soulful, old-time standout of the new record. The crowd enjoyed a heavier groove on The Revival’s version of iconic blues tune “John The Revelator.” With a kicked-up beat and a maritime theme, this song has Son House dancing in his grave.

After 45 minutes of rollicking good times, TBR graciously thanked their audience, who were left begging for more. Shouts of “Encore!” forced the not-so-begruding band to pick up their instruments once more. How could they finish out this unforgettable set? Would they treat us to a foot-stomping bluegrass song, a swing hit for the happy couples or maybe a shocking R. Kelly cover? On the count of three, “When The Saints Go Marching In” became the perfect way to end the night. Revivers hopped off the small DC9 stage and played amongst the audience, allowing for full-blown cheering, dancing and whoopin’ and hollerin’. All in all, no one left that show anything less than blown away by the immense talent of The Dustbowl Revival.

TBR will be touring the East coast for the next week before returning to California for ever more shows and even a residency at The Mint! Get on this train, because The Dustbowl Revival is leaving the station.

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