So the room was impressive, and as an event it seemed an unqualified success. The line did stretch all the way around the block at some points (and at least halfway around it for several hours), yet wait times were reported to run only around a half-hour -- not bad in the circumstances. Lines for the four bars (three downstairs and one in the balcony) were reasonable as well, although the drinks weren't quite in line with a rock band's budget, with a Lone Star running $6.50.
Most importantly, the show was sold out, and sold out before the doors even opened. Once again, a definite success. The challenge, of course, is to maintain that buzz. Luckily, the Barlows have proven to be astute businesspeople, so there's no reason to doubt their ability to keep the place afloat. Figuring out what exactly the identity of the place will be is a little more up in the air.
Opening night -- and opening weekend, in fact -- is a bit of slam dunk. Curiosity no doubt helped bring folks in the door and sell out the room. Badu was a sensible choice for opening night, and on Saturday the local pride (and nostalgia) gets ratcheted up with the Toadies. From there? A mix of shows including the Jesus and Mary Chain, Tyler, the Creator and Nikki Sixx's Sixx:A.M.
Sarah Jaffe's inclusion as opener on Thursday was a nice touch, but one that highlights some of the challenges ahead: Folks plugged into the local scene were rightfully proud to see her play such a large stage, but many a person standing in the line outside didn't know who she was. Those are the people that The Bomb Factory needs in order to fill the house, and they're not the core constituents of Deep Ellum.
But then that's beauty of not playing things safe: It's impossible to predict just where things will take you. The Bomb Factory is a gamble, yes, but if the Barlows hit the jackpot it will be huge for Deep Ellum and huge for Dallas. "World-class venue" wouldn't be mere hyperbole. It takes years to built a reputation like that, but so far the folks at The Bomb Factory have done everything they can to set the pieces in place.
They deserve to be applauded, and they probably deserve a break -- even if only for one night.
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