The Blues Traveler show Tuesday night at the “Rev Room,” the new Revolution run by Chris King and Suzon Awbrey, was everything we expected and then some, and so was the “Rev Room.”
John Popper and Blues Traveler played two-and-a-half hours with nary a moment’s chatter interrupting the music: they freely flowed one one song to the next, with Popper occasionally adding some words about Little Rock needing to be called “Big Rock” — when haven’t we heard that — lauding the crowd, and introducing the band during the group’s encore. While we thought Blues Traveler’s Riverfest show three years agowas pretty good, this blew that away in sheer quantity and quality of songs, from the recognizable hits that so many in the crowd of 600 sang along to, to drawn-out jams to even the Isley Brothers’ “Shout” near the end. Popper even unloaded his case of eight or so harmonicas to members of the audience during the wind-down portion of the show. His bandmates instrumentally were excellent.
This marked our visit to the “Rev Room” with an actual show going on, and while we thought the setup of the pit area being lower than the next level would be cool, seeing it in practice exceeded even our hopes for great visual lines to the stage. Nearly every angle you took, whether on the floor or on the second level behind the pit, you were afforded a generally unobstructed view. Though 600 people were admitted inside, the space didn’t feel cramped. We easily manueavered from the top level down through the pit or front stage area, occassional making it as close to the three-deep line of fans on the floor, at least before the Corona and nature called and we began our maneuvering all over again.
By the encore, we were on the front row of the second level, which is about 30 feet from the stage, and the view was great.
Black and red are the predominant colors of the “Rev Room.” The entranceway from a door next to the entrance to Rumba restaurant was decorated with lamps lined with silver beads and red drapery on the ceiling. The silver-bead look was also used around the stage, and the red ball light fixtures that are found in Rumba were also used through the “Rev Room.” The bar in back was cranking all night, with a second cash-only bar closer to the fans watching from the upper level. We noticed familiar bar help from Juanita’s working the show as well, and waits were not long for drinks.
The Hosty Duo from Norman, Okla., who make weekly visits to Sticky Fingerz, put on a rousing, rocking opening set that got the crowd geared. They were part White Stripes, part Texas honky tonk in a Cross Canadian Ragweed kind of way. Check out the Hosty Duo soon, if you haven’t already. Mike Hosty is one talented guitarist and songwriter.
Upcoming shows that should draw big crowds to the “Rev Room” are Whild Peach (the Outkast funky backup band) on Aug. 5.
After last night, we can’t wait to go back.
Amy Brawner shares her thoughts on the night on her Amy Afterdark blog, plus she’s got the where-to-go for Wednesday night as well.