Juan Jusino, Tampa Correspondent
VENUE: Ferg’s Live, Tampa, Florida–“Swiss Sauce Haunted Halloween Party”-October 23, 2015
The show was scheduled for a Friday night. The venue was located right in downtown Tampa. The posters were all over town for several weeks before the show, and both bands headlining were well-known names with big hits under their belt. So, what could go wrong for what seemed to be a solid show for a perfectly timed Friday night?
Alien Ant Farm and Drowning Pool performed at Ferg’s Live in Tampa, Florida during the “Swiss Sauce Haunted Halloween” party. The performances were great, but the ambience of the show was sadly haunted by other factors outside of the performers’ control. It is a shame because these great bands deserved better.
I arrived around 8:00pm, two hours after the scheduled start time. On stage, was the beautiful DJ Heavy Grinder, whose mix of electronica and metal was perfect to get the small crowd of metal-heads going. Sadly, even after 8:00pm, there were only a few people by the stage. A relatively large area immediately in front of the stage was reserved for “VIP” ticket holders and separated from the “General Audience” by a fence. Not a huge surprise, considering that the “General Audience” tickets were $25 and the “VIP” tickets were $60, which included access to an after-party with DJ Heavy Grinder.
Alien Ant Farm took the stage around 9:00pm, in front of a very small crowd of “VIPs”, with rest of the crowd still scattered behind barrier that separated the “classes”. The separation felt and looked odd, but did not affect the band from enthusiastically playing their set. A short rant by Dryden Mitchell (lead singer) about the times when MTV used to play music videos was received with cheers from the crowd. I found it both funny and ironic, considering this band received an incredible amount of airplay on that channel. Nevertheless, Alien Ant Farm was professional and played an enthusiastic set worthy of a large, packed venue for about an hour. They closed the show with their iconic cover of Michael Jackson’s “Smooth Criminal”.
Drowning Pool took the stage around 10:30pm, in front of a somewhat larger crowd of VIPs. Jason Moreno (lead singer), quickly called for “everyone else” to join the “VIP” area. After asking everyone to do so multiple times, and saying that it would be “OK”, the crowd in front of the stage finally resembled a real one. Yes, the serfs were allowed with the rest of the crowd.
Drowning Pool’s performance was heavy and powerful. The flimsy barricade that was placed to create separation between the crowd and the stage quickly gave way and fell on top of the monitors after a fan jumped from the stage to crowd-surf. The crowd continuously tried to fix it and I was almost crushed a few times until the security team did some spot fixing. Drowning Pool was able to please the small crowd of die-hard fans with an hour and a half of powerful heavy music, closing the show their also iconic mega hit, “Bodies”.
I’m not a concert promoter, nor can I pretend to be one, but I can’t imagine how someone would think of charging $25 and $60 to see bands at this venue. One could blame the somewhat poor turn out on high ticket prices for bands that may not have the same following as during their peak or just flat out poor promotion. I do not know which was the case for the “Swiss Sauce Haunted Halloween”, but maybe next time they should consider selling the show for the music and not inflating the ticket price for an additional “VIP” experience that often adds very little to the overall experience. This seems to be the new M.O. of venues nowadays which is turning concerts into class warfare.
Drowning P0ol: Members: Jasen Moreno – Vox CJ Pierce – Guitar Stevie Benton – Bass Mike Luce – Drums; Genre: Rock; Home Town: Dallas, TX
Alien Ant Farm
Alien Ant Farm Members: Dryden Mitchell – vocals – Mike Cosgrove – drums – Terry Corso – guitar – Timmy Pee – bass -Genre: Rock / Alt; Home Town: Riverside, CA
Heavy Grinder Members: Bobbie HG, Neko HG; Genre: Heavy Electronica; Home Town: Los Angeles, CA
Alien Ant Farm “Smooth Criminal”
Drowning Pool “Bodies”
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