On Sunday afternoons off Metric Boulevard among warehouses and offices, a weekly event is romancing audiences with tasty brews, trailer eats and consciously curated music performed by some of Austin’s best talent. This reoccurring event at 4th Tap Brewing Co-op is called Revel Unclassified, and it began in January of this year after Carla McElhaney dreamt up the idea for a concert series listeners are meant to revel in.
Like all successful creative projects, Revel Unclassified stemmed from a fortunate sequence of events. When McElhaney was only three-years-old, an interest for playing piano struck while she was watching the mischievous puppet named Bunny Rabbit on “Captain Kangaroo.” “One day he was featured in a skit where he was dressed in a little tux and played a concert on a grand piano, moving up and down the keyboard. He was so elegant and serious…and magical! I was hooked,” she explained.
Years of passion and growing as a musician lead McElhaney to a tenured teaching position at Ohio’s Baldwin Wallace Conservatory, but she left seeking ways to perform on her own terms. As a result, she started Revel, a group of incredibly talented classically trained musicians playing chamber music with a sense of freedom instead of restrained stuffiness.
McElhaney says forming a group like Revel in Austin was a magical process. “The creative energy in Austin is palpable–you can actually feel it in the air. It makes me feel alive. I love that the people who live here are interested in trying new things and exploring new ideas, but not at the expense of quality or authenticity,” she told me.
After seven seasons of performances, Revel spawned Revel Unclassified as a concert series with a twist. The seed for the special format was planted in McElhaney’s mind when Revel was invited to perform at a show in Albuquerque that combined music, poetry and even a moment of silence into the program. It took place in a warehouse at 10:30 a.m. complete with a coffee bar and pastries.
“As I began to think about how I could adapt this for Austin audiences, I realized it needed to be later in the day. People in Austin are either in bed or at church at 10:30 in the morning,” McElhaney said. She knew it would be a huge commitment to put the events together, but once she found the right space and time, she dove right in.
Revel Unclassified Concert Series
Each week, 4th Tap Brewing Co-op provides the perfect atmosphere for the sounds and visuals of Revel Unclassified. The brewery is laid-back. But at the same time, it’s a well thought out and quiet space, an ideal listening environment without constrictiveness.
The pieces of poetry, music and visual art are picked out by the artists who present them. They can choose to use their own work or perform a piece by a famous or lesser-known artist along with a backstory. Each Revel Unclassified has a theme set out by McElhaney. For all but one of the event’s 23 weeks so far, she has used the name and meaning of a Major Arcana card in the Tarot deck to mold the theme. The first week was card 0, The Fool, and the final week will be 21, The World.
How to Revel
To revel at Revel Unclassified means to fully take in the artistic performance in front of you. Laugh, close your eyes and absorb the music, savor your food and beer, and cheer for the work you relate to or that inspires you.
Revel Unclassified tickets are for sale for $10 each on the event website in advance, or you can purchase a ticket at the door if the event is not sold out. Doors open at 12 p.m., and the show begins promptly at 12:30 p.m. and runs for about an hour. Please check the website for information on performers and the theme of the day for every Sunday through June 2017.
You don’t need to eat lunch beforehand since 4th Tap Brewing Co-op picks out delicious trailer eateries to attend each week. Patrons are welcome to sip beers and chow down before or during the concert. Note that the parking lot for the brewery at 10615 Metric Blvd. fills up rather quickly, but there’s street parking across Metric down Denton Drive.
@theAustinot wants to know:
What poem or song would you perform at Revel Unclassified?
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