Audience members ecstatically applauded and cheered as two alternative pop-rock bands, The Dawn Bombs and The Female Fiends, filled The Underground Coffeehouse with vibrations from guitar, bass, drums and vocal chords. The Oct. 5 show was the first installment of the Associated Students Productions Wednesday Night Concert Series on campus.
Both bands are directly connected to Western, The Dawn Bombs forming through social connections and collaboration while attending the university and The Female Fiends having performed on campus numerous times.
Juniors Benjamin Waight and Ruben Gomez, members of The Dawn Bombs, are music students at Western and formed a connection through practicing and studying.
“In Las Vegas, Nevada, in the 1950s during the Cold War, people in their penthouse suites would throw elegant parties where they would stay up until midnight to see nuclear bomb testing which would light up the sky like dawn, and they would call these ‘dawn bomb parties. So when we started writing we wanted that feeling of classiness while still breaking expectations.”
The Dawn Bombs band member Ruben Gomez
“He was a bad singer and I was a bad instrumentalist and because of that we found use for each other,” Waight said. “I could hear it and I could sing it, and he could read it, so we kind of needed each other and formed a good friendship that way.”
Waight then met the final band member, William Luckensmeyer, through mutual friends in Fairhaven. He invited Gomez to their first jam session where they wrote their first song, “Acetylene,” Waight said.
The name The Dawn Bombs stemmed from the idea of wanting the music to feel classy and suave, while still filled with powerful substance, Waight said.
“In Las Vegas, Nevada, in the 1950s during the Cold War, people in their penthouse suites would throw elegant parties where they would stay up until midnight to see nuclear bomb testing which would light up the sky like dawn, and they would call these ‘dawn bomb parties,’” Gomez said. “So when we started writing we wanted that feeling of classiness while still breaking expectations.”
The Dawn Bombs have played at venues like the Swillery Whiskey Bar and The Shakedown in downtown Bellingham. However, some of the band’s favorite venues are house shows, Luckensmeyer said.
“A nice, filthy basement to play a show in is the best I’ve found so far,” Luckensmeyer said. “I really liked playing at The Blue Mansion last year.”
Christian Olson, The Female Fiends lead guitarist, graduated from Western last June after attending the university for four years, he said.
“I have a bunch of friends here and it’s fun to be back in Bellingham,” Olson said. “I [was] excited to perform at the coffeehouse because I used to work there.”
The Female Fiends have performed at Western on several occasions, including the Summer Noon Concert Series, Lawnstock 2015, plus many performances at The Underground Coffeehouse.
Although the band is from Kent, Washington, The Female Fiends have created a small fan base in Bellingham, drummer Ryan Davis said. The fact Olson attended Western played a big influence in that, he said.
“Music is an interesting way to express myself,” singer and guitarist Michael Yin said. “It’s been fun getting to meet cool people.”
During the concert, spectators continuously tapped their feet and bobbed their heads to the melodic rhythm of alternative rock that circulated throughout the room.
“I like [the music] because it’s upbeat,” freshman Hanna Bridgham said. “The music’s chill, it’s a cool vibe around here.”
AS Productions will continue to have bands perform in The Underground Coffeehouse every Wednesday for the rest of the school year, AS Productions assistant Soleil De Zwart said.