A year ago, the Bastards of Soul were a new band on a classic trajectory for success. Shortly after releasing a debut album (Spinnin'
) with a catchy and cool single and video, the band was sharing a sold-out Kessler stage
with breakout stars Black Pumas, and a follow-up Kessler gig proved they could pack the house all on their own.
The Bastards opened up at the Kessler for Black Pumas before the venue offered a bigger stage at its sister location in Fort Worth.
The promotional arm of the Kessler immediately began looking to book the group into a larger room and expand their visibility outside the boundaries of Dallas. Fort Worth’s historic (and recently remodeled) Ridglea Theater, with its 1,000-plus capacity was reserved, and brisk early ticket sales followed. It was a perfect plan. Perfect until COVID shut down the entire entertainment industry, that is.
Fast forward to Saturday night, more than a year later, which felt like a lifetime for anyone in the music industry. As venues open again, there is a multitude of questions, and the most important one for these bastards from East Dallas was: Do people still care?
Singer Chadwick Murray taking the stage at the Ridglea Theater in Fort Worth.
The answer is an unqualified “Yes." Twenty minutes before the 7 p.m. opening of the doors, a noticeable line was forming outside the venue, and across the street at Rusty Tacos, a handful of customers pushed the last of the taco goodness in and headed across Camp Bowie Boulevard. Inside, support from the Kessler and KTX 91.7 made for a smooth event, and the Michael Lee band kicked things off promptly at 8 with a wailing, up-tempo blues-rock set.
The table was reset for the main course. Dark blue lights gradually flooded the stage as Chad Stockslager led the band through an instrumental opening, teasing the arrival of singer Chadwick Murray. For the next hour, a house full of old and new friends could forget about all the crap of last year and enjoy great live music. With a new single, bigger venue, bigger lines and a packed crowd at the merch table, the Bastards of Soul looked to be back on track.
The Bastards had a line going outside the theater.