Let me start off with a rant we can all agree on. Why am I charged so much for ordering tickets online? What is this handling fee? I want to see what this 10 dollars bought me. Does processing my particular order require excessive amounts of expensive coffee? Is every ticket rubbed with diamond dust? I understand that there is a middleman involved (here’s looking at you, Ticketfly), but 10 dollars? I’m in college! Usually I’d mosey on down to 9:30 Club to buy the ticket. Unfortunately I was in the magical land of Miami and was not willing to wait until I was physically present in DC.
Why was I so antsy? This is Red Barraat we’re talking about! They’re incredibly hip. I dare you to search for them in the blogosphere. It’s impossible. They’ve done an NPR Tiny Desk Concert. Can you even comprehend this genre? They’re a New Orleans Brass Band and Indian Wedding Band fusion established in Brooklyn. I know…so ridiculously cool.
I arrived at 8:30 pm, out of breath from the Metro-to-V St. sprint, only to arrive at a snarling woman in Will Call. “I’m sorry, did you say Red Barraat? They’re almost over. Maybe you can catch the encore.” My heart sank. The encore? Thankfully this turned out to be a hipster test meant to deter all those undedicated music lovers. I passed and was rewarded with a sweet half hour of wonderful noise.
The audience was a mix of baby boomers, Bhangra enthusiasts, and one older man dressed in a cheerleading outfit. Stuck in what seemed to be permanent ennui, he would wave his pom poms at the most upbeat moments of each song. He was the only one in the audience locked in a stoic face rut. I could not see every audience member but I could feel every single one of their smiles. People were moving any way they knew how. For some that was just an enthusiastic head bob, but I’m sure that’s all they could muster.
Red Barraat conducted the audience’s jubilant dance party with a tuba, 3 drum sets, a trumpet, clarinet, and trombone. Any time one of the musicians erupted in a solo the crowd screamed out in cheers. The band jumped in turn, holding their instruments up in the air like party flags. I know they wrote these songs beforehand. I had just listened to them in transit. I know that, but they were also playing the impromptu notes of their instrumental consciousness. It just felt like someone rubbed my soul with warm bayou magic.