Odd fellows, vagabonds, rabble-rousers and revelers all came together to bring a taste of New Orleans to the Bishop Arts District in Dallas. That is how district business owners Amy Wallace Cowan, Jason Roberts and Corey McCombs would describe themselves. In a short walk between their other creations, Odd Fellows and AJ Vagabonds, sits the trio’s latest brainchild, Revelers Hall. The venue had its official ribbon-cutting opening May 3.
With its 1920s-inspired, American-styled decor, Revelers Hall is like a trip back in time to the beginning of jazz music or to classic New Orleans spots like the Ace Hotel and the Spotted Cat. But the owners aren't trying to pigeonhole their venue as strictly jazz or New Orleans-inspired. Complete with a bar and a small performance space at the main entrance, Revelers Hall is more like a house for less-electronic, loud, brass-forward elevated busking, co-owner Roberts says.
“Basically, if the power goes out, I want to be able to still feel the music,” Roberts says.
And, at least when the Revelers Hall Band is playing, this is undoubtedly possible. Every Saturday and Sunday from 2 to 5 p.m., the Revelers Hall Band makes a not-so-subtle stop at their home venue. The six-piece brass band packs a punch that is near impossible to stand still to.
The band embodies what Roberts and music director Kevin Butler want to get out of all the performers at the venue. They want to hear acoustic sounds, real pianos as opposed to keyboards, and upright basses as opposed to electric.
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With the house band, this should not be an obstacle. Artists who favor electronic music will have the chance to be backed by the Revelers Hall Band to help match the venue’s musical concept. The venue hopes to have the band back other performers for in-house, live recordings to be released in the near future by Revelers Records, another project Butler and Roberts have in the works.
The new venue is an extension of the ecosystem that Roberts, Cowan and McCombs have created through their other businesses, and each of them work together as one. Oddfellows, which is generally known as a breakfast joint, has the capacity to serve meals during the evening, so it provides the food for Revelers Hall, like charcuterie and other small dishes.
A Beirut & Balkan Brass tribute band and local act Trusko are set to play Revelers Hall this week. While the Revelers Record label is a main point of focus for the owners, Roberts says people can also look forward to a recurring Amsterdam jazz music night in the not-so-distant future.