It was impossible to find parking near Club Dada; getting to the venue required a hike through a brisk Deep Ellum, hands shoved in pockets and thick woolen hats pulled over ears. The front of Club Dada was as welcoming as ever, nestled in the midst of two bars where neon lights would soon glow, once the fading dusk pulled away from Deep Ellum entirely.
Good Morning Bedlam was to open for The Arcadian Wild, a brassy bluegrass pop compliment to the more straight-edged, harmonious folk of the header. But for the Bedlam gang, with their integral fiddler/violinist Kat Seeger out sick, their usual sound was to be a little different than usual. Trumpeter Dawson J. Redenius was to try and cover some of her most crucial parts, but for a band that boasts musically complex composition and all-around diverse sound, it was bound to be challenging, no matter what.
The crowd assembled close to the stage, ranging from probably around eight to seventy years in age, the most varied ensemble of ages I’ve yet seen at a concert. Both groups on either side of me were devout Arcadian Wild fans; one even had a logo-engraved panel for the back of their new banjo that they wanted the band to sign, and a hand-painted denim jacket featuring an album cover. They asked which band I was covering, and I answered Bedlam, whom I’d met this past summer at an arts festival. “I don’t know any of the opening band’s music,” they’d said, “but I’m excited to hear them.”
Good Morning Bedlam took to the stage, with Redenius heading over to his keyboard and trumpet stand, and married couple, Tori and Isaak Elker, grabbed their standing bass and guitar/ukulele, respectively. When they started, I heard the Arcadian Wild fan next to me mutter, “Oh wow.”
With an explosive folk sound, a softness enhanced by Redenius’s jazz-infused trumpet stylings, just the instrumentals onstage for Bedlam were well executed, to say the least. A perfectly balanced sound that also showcased both the Elkers’ vocals—the poppy, bright nasal of Isaak, and the wide, belted vulnerability of Tori. And with the added addition of their engaging dance moves and constant smiles, the Bedlam crew, although down one person, were still as entertaining as ever.
Their set was shorter, but everyone around me was audibly impressed. After having quickly won over the crowd, it was obvious that the trio had roused the audience. A duo to the left of me told me how it was better than they had even expected; the Arcadian Wild superfan grinned wide, grabbed my shoulder, and said, “That was amazing.” Around me, in the midst of such a memorable performance, there seemed that a consensus was reached—that Good Morning Bedlam is a band undeservedly slept on.