Heeeeeere’s Jerry! While not being able to attend JBTV’s Let’s Eat Grandma show because of chemotherapy, Jerry took his rightful place back behind the jib camera for JBTV’s September 10th live show of Givers. Originally from Lafayette, Louisiana and making their debut on the JBTV stage, Givers gave the intimate audience a taste of what the Big Easy has to offer. Creating groovy guitar riffs, soulful drums, and a calming tempo, Givers presented a performance that would shake the United Center’s rafters and even make Red Forman from That 70’s Show smile and shake his ass—instead of threatening to put his foot in others.
Although Givers beam nothing but good vibes, dire circumstances brought them together. While living together and studying jazz at The University of New Orleans, Tiffany Lamson and Taylor Guarisco were flooded out of their apartment during Hurricane Katrina. After losing valuable music equipment and their apartment, Lamson and Guarisco made the journey back to their hometown of Lafayette. Shortly after the move, Lamson and Guarisco started skipping class to jam at their friend Kirby Campbell’s place—former band member of Givers.
These jam sessions led to the creation of “Saw You First,” the first song of Givers’ set at the JBTV stage. With a twangy guitar riff from Guarisco and Lamson’s skills on the ukulele—“Saw You First” lulled the crowd into comfort and ease. This feeling of relief was brought together from Lamson and Guarisco’s joyous singing that radiated the JBTV stage. Like lyrics from the song, Givers put the audience collectively “in a dream”—a dream that the audience was not ready to wake up from yet.
After “Saw You First,” Givers went into their next song “Meantime” a song that distills the cheerful, spirit of their hometown of Lafayette. Having never written a pop song before this 2011 song, Guarisco said in the JBTV interview with Jerry Bryant that the sole purpose of “Meantime” was to “get people moving.” Nurturing the jazzy sound from Lafayette and the city’s desire to dance, Givers successfully transcribed a sonic road map of Lafayette. A song whose lyrics have positive affirmations like “love and happiness is growin’ in your vase” and “don’t get stuck in the meantime,” Givers generously offer the listener reasons to be optimistic and filled with joy.
The afro-pop polyrhythm influences of Givers really came to fruition in their next song “Movin On”—a song off of their new album of the same name. Starting out with a Caribbean fused baseline, “Movin On” was Tiffany Lamson's time to shine.. Singing and performing on a percussion kit that looked like a collapsed Guitar Center aisle, Lamson juggled tambourine, bongos, and maracas all the while maintain the easy breezy vibe of the song. Givers’ performance of “Movin On” at the JBTV stage was a prime example of why more people need to discover this band. The amount of talent that each member possesses would awe the most jaded audience member.
The last two songs of Givers’ set list were “Love is Like a Fire” and “Collide.” “Love is Like a Fire” was another song that illustrated Lamson’s talent, by making her vocal range the forefront of the song. Lamson’s ability to manipulative her voice through peaks and valleys, “Love is Like a Fire” ignited the already positive energy that radiated in the JBTV studio from their performance. With a folky, guitar riff and Guarisco and Lamson’s poppy vocals, “Collide” ended the show on the highest, most positive note.
Look, I can sit here and go on about how positive Givers’ energy was in the studio, how talented they are, and how catchy their songs are—but if you take anything from this write up—GO SEE GIVERS LIVE! You won’t regret it! Having already been on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon and Jimmy Kimmel Live!, Givers is without a doubt one song away from ambushing the charts. Don’t just take my word for it—take Neil Young’s.
That’s right. You’re read that correctly. Neil. Fucking. Young. In his latest autobiography Waging Heavy Peace: A Hippie Dream, Neil Young lists Givers as one of his favorite bands after seeing them on Fallon and Kimmel. So if think my opinion doesn’t hold weight, how about Neil Young’s?
And if that’s not convincing enough, how about the fact that Givers’ music helped keep a person alive? Marc Pagani, a New Orleans based photographer, was on an assignment to take photographs of the Himalayas in 2011. With Nepal experiencing warmer weather and a longer monsoon season than normal, Pagani and his climbing partner became trapped after multiple avalanches demolished their campsite for the night.
Stuck in between their two campsites in brutal weather conditions, Pagani and his colleague made a makeshift campground and showed each other songs on their iPhones to distract themselves from their current situation. Having saved Givers on his iPhone after seeing them perform at NOLA venue One Eyed Jacks, Pagani played Givers’ song “Up Up Up.” Once the vibrant music of “Up Up Up” blasted from Pagani’s iPhone speakers, morale was boosted immediately. “It slowly became the theme song for the trip…and gave us hope that we would make it through the night,” Pagani recalled of the trip. Once a long night of cascading snow turned into a still morning, Pagani and company made the trek down the mountain with their morale intact—thanks to “Up Up Up.” You can check out some of the photographs Pagani got from this experience in his book Fearless Photographer: Travel.
Now, you don’t have to go to the Himalayans and have a near death experience to fully appreciate Givers. The band’s mission statement is to “bring something positive where there wasn’t before,” and if you could use a higher dosage of positivity, you should experience Givers for yourself.
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Photo Credit: Bobby Talamine