Revelers Hall in Bishop Arts is turning Saturday nights into a lively celebration with its weekly brass band show, marking the start of Mardi Gras festivities that will continue until Fat Tuesday on February 13.
The kick-off event on January 6 featured Popham’s Brass Band, showcasing local talent with a 9-piece ensemble, including four trumpets (Alcedrick Todd, Terence Bradford, Kenyahtah Graham, Daryl Bailey Jr.), two trombones (Gaika James, Phil Joseph), two percussionists (Andrew Popham, Andre Swartz), and a sousaphone (Kevin Butler).
Over a dozen decorated Mardi Gras-themed umbrellas hang from the rafters – the window lined with thick green, gold, and purple tinsel. It’s like transporting straight to New Orleans, alongside dancers that will keep their feet moving all night long.
Guests filtered in through the double doors, edging past the brass band that spilled out into the floor – a usual occurrence at the beloved shotgun-style venue.
Andrew “Pop” Popham was the leader of the night’s band, steadily commanding the pace from behind the drum set.
There’s a joy in this ensemble that’s tangible – through big smiles and laughs, this ain’t your grandpa’s jazz. Their rendition of “St. James Infirmary” will knock you off your feet and make you holler.
The way Kevin Butler holds down the low end with the microphone directly placed inside his sousaphone tethers the very fabric of your soul into the moment. The band submerges the audience in sound, curing what ails you with 7 horns to the face. You can also stand outside if you’re shy.
Revelers Hall is home to some of the jazziest cats in the city. Though they may play other places, their brass colors truly shine inside this cozy staple of the Dallas music scene.
Among the attendees was local singer Joel Wells Jr, also a member of the Revelers Hall house band. Wells joined the performance as a guest during the second set, delivering a soulful rendition of “Summertime.”
As Revelers Hall continues its weekly brass band shows leading up to Mardi Gras Day, visitors can expect a dynamic celebration reminiscent of New Orleans’ rich Carnival traditions.
To provide a bit of historical context, Mardi Gras in New Orleans dates back to 1699, with the season officially commencing on Twelfth Night, January 6.
During the Carnival season, the streets of New Orleans come alive with music, art, and costumed revelers. From elaborate parades to king cake celebrations, the traditions have evolved over the centuries.
The origins of Mardi Gras balls can be traced back to the Twelfth Night ball in the 1700s, where a king cake determined the host of the next ball.
The Mistick Krewe of Comus hosted the first ball in 1857, while Rex introduced the official Mardi Gras colors of purple, green, and gold in 1872, symbolizing justice, faith, and power.
As Revelers Hall embraces the spirit of Mardi Gras, patrons can expect an immersive experience that not only pays homage to tradition but also infuses a fresh, contemporary vibe into the celebration.
With each brass band performance, Revelers Hall is set to become the go-to destination for those seeking a taste of New Orleans’ vibrant Mardi Gras energy right in the heart of Dallas.
Catch one of the next brass band shows at Revelers Hall through February:
- January 13: Bioniq Brass Band
- January 20: Big Ass Brass Band
- January 27: One Eyed Jacks
- February 3: Popham’s Brass Band
- February 10: Marcus Parks
- February 11: (Block Park) Congo Square & Revelers Hall Band
- February 13: (Fat Tuesday) Steve Brown Trio & Congo Square
Jessica Waffles is a freelance photographer/videographer and regular contributor to KXT.
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