In early July of 2016, I was working three different jobs to save money for when I’d move away to college. When I could, I went to as many concerts as possible. Living in the middle of Nebraska, usually the closest concerts I could manage to get to were either in Denver (4 1/2 hours away) or Omaha (3 1/2). I was on my 15 minute break at my least favorite job (garden center associate at Walmart) when I got the notification that Sumerian Records had announced a massive tour. It was called the 10 Years In The Black Tour. Asking Alexandria was the headliner with support from Born of Osiris, I See Stars, Upon A Burning Body, Straight From the Barrio, and Bad Omens. I could hardly contain my excitement when I saw they would be at the Slowdown in Omaha on Halloween. I purchased my VIP side stage ticket for Asking Alexandria and thus began the wait for October 31st.
In the months leading up to my most anticipated concert of 2016, I made sure to get familiar with all of the bands on the 10 Years Tour. Out of all the albums from the artists I listened to, one in particular stood out. The self-titled album from Bad Omens grabbed my attention because it sounded different. The album opens with the hauntingly heavy Glass Houses. I was impressed by the beauty in the chorus and the transitions back to the heavier sections of the song. The bridge begins with whispered lyrics slowly getting louder and transitioning back in to the chorus. The powerful vocals really resonated with me and I was anxious to see what they were like live.
Finally the day came and I made the two hour journey to Omaha from my college town. I was among the first in the venue thanks to my VIP for Asking Alexandria. Unfortunately, the venue didn’t have space for us to be on the actual side stage, so the group of us had reserved seating above the pit. Bad Omens opened the show with incredible power. I was blown away by their talent and each member seemed to radiate confidence on stage. Noah Sebastian, the vocalist, worked to get the crowd involved and pumped up for the rest of the concert. Unbeknownst to the crowd, it was Noah’s 21st birthday. His tour mates had gotten him a cake and brought it out on stage. The crowd and band sang Happy Birthday and he was forced to have a bite before finishing the Bad Omens set. I thought that was super cool.
Throughout the rest of the evening, I sat back and enjoyed watching the costumed moshers, seeing as it was Halloween, and experienced the best metal core show of my life so far. I had planned to promptly head back to campus after the concert ended, but on my way towards the door I noticed the members of Bad Omens by their merch table. I was hesitant to approach them because I wanted to purchase merch, but I was a broke college student and needed the $5 that I did have to get me back to campus. Nevertheless, I approached the table. I spoke to Noah and told him how impressed I was by their set and I really hoped they would come back through the area. He was very appreciative of my thoughts and hugged me. Personally, I love when bands take time to talk to people about their music. The fact that the whole Bad Omens band was out there talking with people resonated with me.
After the night of October 31st, 2016, I knew I had to see Bad Omens again. I was unable to see them on the Let’s Get Abducted tour due to a conflict, so when I heard they were doing a few headliner shows after that tour, I was ecstatic! The closest show to me was on Sunday, March 19th in Lawrence, Kansas and was about 5 1/2 hours away. I have class every day at 9 a.m. Was I going to risk going to the show anyway? Hell yes.
After the long drive to Lawrence, I was relieved to be inside the venue. They were playing in the Granada Theater, which was a small and kind of creepy looking place, but it had character. Walking towards the stage area, I noticed Nicholas Ryan (one of the guitar players and definitely the most precious dude to ever exist) was behind the merch table, and I decided to speak with him for a bit. We chatted for a while and I asked what life was like balancing tattooing and being in a band, seeing as he is also a full-time tattoo artist in Richmond, VA when he’s not on tour. He said it can be hard, but he loves it. When he’s doing one thing, he’s missing the other. I then asked about the start of Bad Omens, and how he came to be a part of the group. Nicholas and Noah had been best friends since they were kids and after Noah had done some demos on his own, Nicholas came in to the picture and brought along Vincent Riquier (bass) and he connected them to Joakim “Jolly” Karlsson (guitar), and Nick Folio (drums) joined last.
The show at the Granada was small, with approximately 60 people in attendance. The low numbers didn’t stop Bad Omens from giving one hell of a show. Each member gave it their all, delivering with an undoubtable passion. The crowd was treated to 8 out of 12 songs from the album. Following their performance, the band made their way to the merch table where they signed items, took pictures, and were sure to speak with whoever wanted to talk. As I watched the people before interact with the guys I couldn’t help but be amazed at how genuinely nice each of them was. Once I got up to the group, I praised their wonderful performance and thanked them for coming to the area. It says a lot about a band when they take the time to get to know the people who came to see them.
I had the wonderful opportunity to interview Noah about their debut album, which he did nearly half of by himself. Noah and Jolly did the majority of the producing. When Noah isn’t touring or writing for Bad Omens, he’s writing for other bands. He said writing is his passion in life, so it’s what he does all the time. Noah also said it’s incredible to play for people, no matter how big or small the crowd is. I told him it was remarkable that somebody as young as he is was writing the words he was writing and doing what he was doing. Bad Omens wouldn’t even be Bad Omens without Noah.
After the venue staff kicked the remaining few of us out, I decided to go out on a limb and ask Nicholas if I could smoke a cigarette with him. He told me to meet him over by their van and he’d be out in a little while. I ended up staying and chatting with the whole band for about two hours in the alleyway behind the venue. We spoke about music, the 90’s, touring, the town I’m going to school in, and the music scene in Nebraska. I got an amazing inside look at life on tour for a newer band.
What I gathered during my time with the members of Bad Omens was that they are just some really cool guys who love to play and play what they love. They have incredible talent, charisma, confidence, and they are going to go really far in the music industry. I am so thankful for the opportunity I had to hang around with them and see the casual side of those guys. If you’re not familiar with Bad Omens right now, don’t be surprised if you start seeing their name around more often because they’re growing and growing fast.