‘Twas the night before Thanksgiving and through the Saloon door, the music was playing and frozen turkeys rolled across the floor. The Saloon at NC Music Factory in downtown Charlotte hosted its Riot Wednesdays show, as it does every week, but this one was special. Of course, it was the Riot Before Thanksgiving. The night’s agenda included a couple of acoustic sets mixed in with Lo Ultimo’s sick beats and Bombshell’s electric set with some new and some old. And, yes- there were frozen turkeys rolling across the floor. The 8pm show went all night until close to 1:30 in the morning and even upon my departure following the close of the final set, there were still a couple of crowds of people lingering.
A laid back atmosphere where band mates hang out at the bar while not performing and games of turkey bowling, in-between sets in celebration of the holiday, is what you get when you visit The Saloon. And a rep from 106.5 The End hosted the Turkey Bowl prior to Bombshell’s performance in front of the stage while the band prepared.
Straight out of Rock Hill, South Carolina, the men of the night were Bombshell. Formed in 1999, the group may have exchanged a few of their members along the way but they still maintain the same sound and same attitude when it comes to making music. The last time I saw Bombshell in concert was quite awhile back and they were playing parks and town festivals. Today, the group plays venues such as The Money (Rock Hill) and The Saloon, and now consists of Chris Stephens (singer and guitarist), Matt Simmons (guitarist), J.R. Baker (bass), Ray Faulkenberry (synthesizer), and Chris “C2″ Cauthen (drummer). Stephens is the only member who has been around since the very beginning, over ten years ago. The band released its first music in 2002 and in 2006, released their first full length EP, To Hell with Motives.
Last Wednesday night’s performance consisted of some newer material, including a brand new single, “Who Needs an Enemy with a Friend Like You,” the first single from their upcoming EP that is scheduled to drop at the beginning of the year. They wrapped up their set with a song from the 2006 album, Moving On From Moving On and began their performance with “What A Mess” and “Under the Weather.” If you were sitting in the back of the room, you were called out – they want you up close and personal. “We’re an eye contact band and we enjoy it,” announced lead singer, Stephens. “So if you’re more than five feet away from the stage, you’re in the wrong place.” The full effect is best attainable in front of the stage but, in all honesty, there wasn’t a bad seat in the house. Even from a chair at the bar, or a booth in the back of the room, it was as entertaining as if you were standing in front of the stage. You’re not restricted to get up on your feet but you’re not obligated to either.
I felt the opening bands were great entertainment and led a great precedence to the anticipated performance by Bombshell. However, after every band took their turn, I could hear people throughout the room expressing their opinion that Bombshell should get on stage. Even though the band has originated from small town Rock Hill south of the Carolina border, the guys have made their mark in the Charlotte music scene and it shows within their fans.
While watching their performance on Wednesday night, I found myself remembering what they were like once upon a time when we were all still in high school. Even though they have come a long way since those days, they haven’t lost the humble factor when it comes to the strides they have made. When you see Bombshell live, you can see that they’re still just a bunch of friends who like to get together and make great music.