Last week found me at The Bomb Factory for the first time. I was excited, not only for the opportunity to check out the venue I’ve been hearing so much about recently, but also because the lineup consisted of WE ARE HARLOT, SEETHER and 3 DOORS DOWN. I’ve been meaning to catch WE ARE HARLOT for quite awhile now, having heard them on the radio, and being told by most of my peers, “You gotta check these guys out.”
Unfortunately for them, they were plagued by technical difficulties from the get go, starting with their first song. The intro music began as they took the stage. Frontman Danny Worsnop asked if the crowd was “Ready for some Rock’n Roll!?”, which was supposed to be the cue for the rest of the band to come in… Only they didn’t… He repeated it… Still nothing… “Our shit’s broken.” he explained, as the crew came flying into action. Quickly they had it squared away and shrugging it off, they put on the coals, speeding into “Denial”. Once again, their monitors started cutting out on them, so they couldn’t really hear each other. Amazingly though, they kept it tight. If you’ve ever been in a band, and played live, you might have experienced how hard it is to play when you can’t hear the other members. Yet somehow, these guys made it work. And after the second appearance of the crew, they seemed to have it all worked out. All the while, Worsnop was doing a great job bantering with the crowd.
For the rest of their set, they really hammered it home, playing “Easier to Leave”, “Someday” (which was dedicated to all the ladies in the audience), and even a cover of QUEEN’s “Tie Your Mother Down”. From the incredibly precise riffs of Jeff George, to the thunderous Bruno Agra behind the drum kit, to the driving bass of Brian Weaver, and the impressive range of Danny Worsnop, these guys did well. I’d really like a chance to catch them sometime when they could put together a full set unencumbered by technical difficulties. In fact, I think I’ll go pick up their new, self-titled album released last March.
SEETHER took the stage next. Now in all honesty, I’ve never really been much into SEETHER. But there’s no denying they put on a decent show. Great stage presence, huge sound, and a lot of energy. They certainly had the crowd going. By this point, the place was packed, both levels. The lighting was impeccable, the mix was great and they just tore through their set, gaining momentum the longer they played. I’m quite intrigued by some of their new stuff, and will certainly need to dig into them a bit more after this show. The newer material seemed to have a harder rocking groove than a lot of their previous work.
Then it was time for 3 DOORS DOWN. I was a little excited, I admit. Basically for one song (“Kryptonite” was my karaoke jam when I was 10). The five-piece took the stage in the dark, and as the lights came on they revealed Chet Roberts behind a keyboard, to play the opening melody for “Here Without You”. The crowd went wild. Soon lead singer Brad Arnold strolled out from back stage, and sang the opening lines. Soon they were joined by the rest of the band (and audience). I was actually pretty impressed with the show they put on. The mix was great, the lighting was fantastic. They really pulled off a huge feeling show. You sort of forget how many hits they’ve had, as you catch yourself thinking “Oh right, this is 3 DOORS DOWN, too.” Their encore song was “Kryptonite” which suited me well. I think they rocked it more than I’ve ever heard before. Before their last song, they asked the audience to, in essence, post all their photos from the show and tag them in it, because when they have a little bit of time off, they “love to look through photos of themselves and like them all!. Like… like… like… like…” then they closed off their set with “When I’m Gone” dedicated to our men and women in the Armed Forces.
It was a good time with some good friends. But what really stole the show was the staff and the venue. The Bomb Factory is gorgeous. The lighting guys sure know what’s going on! The sound guys are great at what they do. The place is really nice, and the staff made me feel more welcome than just about anywhere else. From the polite and friendly fellow working Will Call, to the security guys working the pit, they’ve done an excellent job of hiring a great crew.
One last great moment was actually after the show, when some friends and I headed over to a great little bar a few streets over for a couple drinks before calling it a night. And who walks in? Bryan Wickmann, guitarist for SEETHER. I tell you, he’s one of the coolest, most down to earth guys I’ve met in a while. You’d think he was some cool local musician, only to realize he’s an international touring rockstar. Haha. We got to talk a bit about international touring (they just wrapped up an Australia run). He even accepted my offer of a couple custom Ardent Owl guitar picks, which he said he’d play with. And because he was so cool, I will definitely give them another listen. So take note, local and budding musicians…Be cool.
LIVE WORDS AND PHOTOS: RYAN “C.B.” WHITEHEAD/ARDENT OWL MEDIA