For Black Pumas, there’s just something about Dallas.
The Austin-based duo of Eric Burton and Adrian Quesada has visited frequently since the 2019 release of its self-titled debut. In January 2020 alone, the band played a total of four times in Dallas, three of which sold out: Two nights at the Kessler Theater, one night at then-Canton Hall and a jam-packed in-store performance at Josey Records. Every gig was overflowing with fans.
The level of love was incredible to behold (speaking as someone in attendance at that Canton Hall performance). So, naturally, the mind wonders, especially as the band prepares to return for its sixth Dallas show in just over two years: Why does this city love Black Pumas so much?
“That’s a good question,” Quesada said, laughing, during a recent conversation from a tour stop in Mexico. “We just seem to be accepted there, for sure, in a way that we aren’t completely sure how it happened.”
Burton has his own theories: “Dallas is a very close neighbor for us,” he said, as he joined the conversation. “With that said, I think the music, inevitably, is one major thing that connects us all. … Dallas is kind of at the epicenter of the sounds that we make [and] maybe Black Pumas is a bit of a prodigal son to Texas music, and just American music generally.”
However the intense bond between the Grammy-nominated band and its Dallas fans is characterized, it’s certain many of them will file into the Factory in Deep Ellum Saturday night, ready anew to bathe in the band’s gripping fusion of psychedelic rock and soul.
It’s also incredible to consider the band’s heavy touring schedule – they’ll be on the road for the remainder of 2022 — behind a now three-year-old record. The Black Pumas, nominated for a Best New Artist Grammy in 2020, have played everywhere from European festivals to presidential inaugurations.
“We’re definitely out of what I imagined [was possible] already, and into another stratosphere,” Quesada said. “There was just no way I could have even dreamed up what we’re doing now.”
New music is coming, eventually, according to Quesada, but the long tail of Black Pumas — and the singularly dynamic live experience the band provides — persists, in Dallas and elsewhere.
“Adrian and I both really enjoy putting ourselves out there, 100 percent, to create some space for people to feel like they’re also a part of what is being created in the conversation that we’re having,” Burton said. “I expect there to be tears; I expect there to be a lot of joy and laughter.”
Preston Jones is a freelance writer and regular contributor to KXT.
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