Last Wednesday, thousands of people woke up believing they’d be seeing Soundgarden tonight at the Bomb Factory. Instead, May 26 is the day the ashes of the band's frontman, Chris Cornell, will be laid to rest.
Cornell killed himself last week in a Detroit hotel room, according to the local medical examiner's office, after performing a show at the Fox Theatre. The rest of Soundgarden's tour has been canceled. Ticket holders were offered refunds, but the Bomb Factory doesn't plan to host a memorial in lieu of the concert.
Undaunted, fans have rallied to hold a vigil in Deep Ellum tonight. Sixty to 100 people are expected to meet at 8 p.m. near the Bomb Factory for a short candlelight vigil. The mourners will then reconvene at Wit’s End, where they'll put Soundgarden on the jukebox and toast to Cornell.
The impetus started in an office building in Uptown.
“I was joking with a girl in my cube," says organizer Brooks Trabold. "I was like, ‘Hey, like why don’t we just get some lawn chairs, some 40s and go hang out in the parking lot and listen to Soundgarden?’”
He aired the idea on the Bomb Factory’s Facebook post announcing the cancelation of the show. When his comment began to receive attention, he decided to create a public Facebook group to promote the get-together.
“Everyone was just kind of bummed out with the whole thing, and people had made travel plans from very far away,” Trabold says.
Trabold says he attempted to personally invite all 198 people who had reacted on Facebook to the Bomb Factory’s post. Facebook disabled his ability to send messages before he could finish, presumably because it thought he was a bot.
He said he was contacted by Sarah Rossini, who planned to drive two-and-a-half hours with her husband to see the show. Now the Rossinis will be driving two-and-a-half hours to sing Soundgarden songs with strangers.
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“It’s just such an overwhelming change of events. I mean, people don’t want to let it go,” Trabold says. “It’s going to be a weird reality; like shit, we were supposed to see Soundgarden today, but here we are gathered in the parking lot lighting candles.”
And while a pack of 100 Soundgarden fans roaming the streets of Deep Ellum may not seem out of place on a Friday night, for those who loved Cornell and his music, it will be an emotional evening.
“I think '90s grunge is something everyone in Dallas can kind of relate to,” Trabold says. “Regardless of the turnout, it should be very interesting. It’s going to be a bunch of grungy alternative '90s fans pretty much gathering for something sentimental.”
Candelight Vigil for Chris Cornell, 8 p.m. Friday, May 26, The Bomb Factory, 2713 Canton St., free, see Facebook.