The biggest thing to happen to Deep Ellum in recent memory took place Thursday night when the Bomb Factory concert venue made its high-profile return. And who better to inaugurate the space than two strong North Texas women like Erykah Badu and Sarah Jaffe.
To say the show and venue were popular would be an understatement - the line to get in literally stretched around the block, beginning and ending at the entrance. Aside from the wait to get in, things ran smoothly when they had the potential to be disastrous. (Robert Wilonsky has more details on opening night here.)
If you're anxious to check out Bomb Factory, especially on opening weekend, it's worth knowing what you're getting into. Here are five tidbits to help you prepare.
Get there early
On a sold out night like Thursday, Bomb Factory holds 4,300 people, which, as previously mentioned, is enough to wrap an entire block. From hopping in line to getting in the venue took us about an hour. So if your favorite band is the opener, get there early. We missed all but three songs from Jaffe. Oh, and parking is ridiculous so be prepared for that.
The sound is amazing
Once a band took the stage, there was little to complain about. Bomb Factory's sound setup is incredible -- loud and clear enough to get the full effect without blowing your eardrums. And unlike some local venues that stack speakers on the side of stage blocking view, all of Bomb Factory's are suspended giving a clear line of sight from the edges of the space. You can see the full tech specs on Bomb Factory's website.
The floor is flat
Some of you are probably saying, "Well, duh." But for short people like myself it's imperative to know this. There are no tiers or rafters, so every extra inch of footwear counts. In big crowds like Thursday, I couldn't always see the musicians. Still the at-capacity crowd wasn't packed like sardines, so there was enough room to maneuver to a better spot.
There are plenty of bars and bathrooms
With 4,300 people fighting to belly up, you'd think it could get ugly. My experience Thursday was quite the opposite. Two long bars flank either side of the venue on the lower level perpendicular to the stage. There's another tucked behind a wall near the lobby that was the quickest bet Thursday. It's also right by the lower level bathrooms, which are plenty spacious and accommodating. Upstairs holds another bar and two other bathrooms. They sit on the wall opposite the stage.
The venue will soon offer VIP tickets, tables, suites
The Bomb Factory will eventually offer VIP tickets, tables and suites, all of which place those who purchase them on the upper level. (See floor plan here.) Unless staff decides to add seats to the ground level, this will likely be your only option for sitting. The venue is also offering an annual VIP membership, which includes exclusive pre-sales, meet-and-greets, skip the line passes and Bomb Factory swag.