RVIVR Is the Northwest Punk Scene’s Best-Kept Secret, but Maybe Not for Much Longer

The Olympia, Wash., quartet’s remarkably consistent output constitutes an ongoing celebration of life.

IMAGE: Courtesy of RVIVR.

In the past nine years, RVIVR has released some of the most beautiful and crucial pop punk of this messed-up century.

The Olympia, Wash., quartet's remarkably consistent output constitutes an ongoing celebration of life, one that acknowledges the difficulty of staying alert and open in a world where those qualities often result in disappointment and pain. RVIVR has gained a sizable following for good reason. Few artists are so skilled at evoking the simple joy of being fully present.

Popular though it may be, RVIVR thrives in smaller spaces—clubs like the Know, where it's possible to connect with folks in the back row—and singer-guitarist Erica Freas worries about the kind of alienation that can result when a crowd becomes a collection of distant strangers.

"I feel much more comfortable playing when we can make eye contact and have a conversation with the whole room," Freas says. "And I've often thought that it seems like a nightmare to be a big band that's always playing big, giant shows, because you would have to cut yourself off from, to some degree, caring what happens out there in the crowd."

While it is unlikely that RVIVR will ever cut themselves off from caring, the band's future is something of an unknown quantity at the moment. Freas recently shuttered her label, Rumbletowne Records, which has released the bulk of RVIVR's music, and the band could be on the verge of relinquishing at least little bit of control.

"We do all the different aspects of running the band," Freas says. "We don't have an agent, we don't have a manager. I feel relief at the idea that, in the future, we are going to hand over some of that spectrum of responsibilities to a different label. And I don't know what that's gonna feel like, because we're not actually there yet."

RVIVR has spent almost a decade soundtracking the thrill of such uncertainty, those queasy times when the future looms as a mystery and something beloved becomes history. But no matter what it feels like once Freas and her bandmates get to where they're going, the band themselves will remain a natural and familiar force.

"We're all really committed to the project," Freas says. "It's just kinda like breathing, you know?"

RVIVR plays Aug. 27 at 1:35 pm.

MusicfestNW presents Project Pabst is Aug. 26-27 at Tom McCall Waterfront Park. Get tickets here.

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