Rio and the Rockabilly Revival took their rock and roll crusade on it’s first transatlantic voyage as they embarked upon their debut European tour.

What is unique about this particular tour is the band’s approach. For each of the dates they are playing on this whirlwind jaunt around the UK and Ireland, they have sourced local musicians to perform with the core members of the band Rio Scafone (vocals) and Seán Eric Harris (double bass). Obviously the cost of traveling overseas with an eight piece band all the way from Detroit would have been considerable and this way was an innovate method of reducing those costs on their first overseas outing.

However, this does bring an additional challenge into the equation, as the band have only a day to rehearse with the local musicians before their big show. A daunting prospect for anyone with such tight timescales, but it is a challenge they accept and embrace wholeheartedly.

Tonight the Revival make their way to the North East of England for their first show in the region at the prestigious Newcastle Rock and Blues Club. They are joined for the evening by Tim Bloomer (guitar) who performs with the incredible of Hannah Rickard and the Relatives and Benjamin ‘Elvis’ Tutt (drums).

Opening the proceedings were local rockabilly outfit LisaMarie and the Ignitors who transported the room back to the 50’s with superb covers of the likes of “Jim Dandy” by LaVern Baker, “C’mon Everybody” by Eddie Cochrane and “Great Balls of Fire” by Jerry Lee Lewis. The band looked the part and got the whole room dancing from the off, their set left the room wanting more and raring to go, ready for Rio and the Rockabilly Revival.

The intro tape rolls as Scafone and co’ take to the stage, dressed in a red polka dot dress and launches straight into the title track from their last album “Runaway Train”. Rio is a vixen, pelvis pushing, gyrating, swinging from the mic stand, getting into all kinds of trouble but in a good way, she commands the stage and the audience love it.

Having only rehearsed once before sound check tonight the band is sounding like they’ve been playing together forever, true professionals. Like a freight train they storm through the lion’s share of their latest album Testify with tracks like “Mercy,” “Rockabilly Girl,” and “Hard Headed Woman” sounding incredible.

The Revival were rocking so hard that the bridge fell off Sean’s double bass. However, this didn’t slow down the proceedings, as they say in the business ‘the show must go on’ and it did and rightly so. The band slowed things down with the sultry numbers like “Tell It To The Moon,” which Rio stated was about when you’ve heard too many bullshit stories from someone and also heartbreak love song “Thank You.”

It appears that Scafone is developing a fondness towards the UK, there is even a slightly British twang to her accent as she tells the audience she has acquired a taste for the local cuisine with fish and chips and a good old fashioned cooked breakfast. The band closed out their main set with the up-tempo number, “Save Our Soul.” The crowd was on their feet and dancing throughout, hanging on every word of the chorus as they left the stage to rapturous applause. Not wanting to disappoint anyone, they returned to the stage to finish their set with a superb cover of Tracy Chapman’s “Give Me One Reason.”

We look forward to the return of the band to these far off shores hopefully in the not too distant future.

Rio and the Rockabilly Revival
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LisaMarie and the Ignitors
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About The Author

Adam Kennedy is an experienced music photographer based in north-east England. He has been shooting concerts for several years now, predominantly with the band Vintage Trouble. In 2013, he was one of their tour photographers, covering the UK & Ireland tour including the headline shows and as opening act for The Who. Adam considers himself fortunate enough to have shot at some of the most prestigious venues and music festivals around the UK, such as The O2 in London, the Glastonbury Festival, as well as the likes of Madison Square Garden in New York City. He is also the official photographer at Newcastle Rock and Blues Club. As an accomplished concert photographer, Adam's work has been featured in print in Classic Rock Blues Magazine, Guitarist Magazine, Blues in Britain magazine, broadcast on the MDA Telethon on ABC Television in the US, used in billboard advertising for Renaissance Hotels in the US, and featured online via music blogs such as Uber Rock and Guitar Planet. Adam is passionate about music and photography, which shows in his work. His taste in music is eclectic and appreciates a diverse selection of genres, from Miles Davis to Metallica, and everything in between. He also has a strong interest in new music, and is on the look out for the next big thing.