There were a lot of surprises in my first visit to the Sandler Center for the Performing arts. When I walked in there were people working the door, IDing and handing out wristbands for anyone interested in drinking? They have alcohol at the Sandler Center? Beer and wine it seems. I was also unaware there would be food available from California Pizza Kitchen. Pleasant surprises but even with the food there I didn’t spend any time in the lobby. I walked straight through it to the room where Broke Royals were performing as part of the Sandler Center’s Out of the Box series.
The Sandler Center, as expected is set up for great audio. The room has sound dampening materials all over to eliminate unwanted echoes. Other than that the room was pretty basic. On the far end the stage was set up already with all of the bands equipment on it with lighting assemblies framing it on each side.
In a row all the way across the front of the stage were VIP tables which I later learned came with a few drinks included (I’m going to have to look into this). Behind the VIP “front row” there were two clusters of about a dozen chairs each, set up in three rows against each wall, allowing for a large open space interspersed with a few high top tables. Even with the seating the room was large enough to hold over two hundred people comfortably. The rest of the floor was empty except for a portable bar in the corner by the entrance to the room. Beer and wine. Nothing wrong with that. I hadn’t gotten a wristband this time because I hadn’t planned on drinking but next time may be different. Its nice to know its an option. After scanning the room I headed to one of the chairs on the window side of the room to wait for the show. At this point it was about 6:20 and there were about twenty to thirty people in the room, mostly between the ages of 35 - 60, but the show didn’t start until 7:00 so I had time to kill. Thankfully for me I was engaged almost immediately by Whitney, who ended up as entertaining and memorable as the band. I’m not even going to guess at her age but she probably had about twenty years on me. We talked about the state of live music in the area, but our conversation centered mostly around my vision for Small Venue Live and my mission to change the Virginia Beach music culture. She was energetic and engaging and the time flew by quickly so before I knew it the band was taking the stage.
Like I said before this was my first time to the Sandler Center so I didn’t know what type of quality to expect from their shows. When the band was introduced they came out, each in a vest and tie looking very well put together. Each one looked like the type of guy thousands of mothers would be overjoyed to have their daughters bring home. The lead singer of the band has a classic attractiveness about him and an infectious easy smile that comes across even more in him confident persona and seemingly effortless vocals. Their music and lyrics caused me to think of a more clean cut version of Neon Trees or Imagine Dragons but that wouldn’t really be a totally accurate comparison. Since it’s so hard to describe a sound accurately you should check out their youtube channel to hear them for yourself.
Their first set was impressive and I decided pretty quickly that I would like to see them again, even if I have to wait for them to come back in May. Whitney and I both decided that, even though they were amazing fully powered and electric, our favorite part of that set was when they went acoustic and played a few “stripped down” versions of their songs. Even then they came across happy, hopeful and upbeat when some bands end up sounding melancholy and morose when they go acoustic. Broke Royals is an immensely likable band with a sound that will make you feel better about the world after you give them a listen!
If the Sandler Center delivers this way next week with Skye Zentz and Ian Randall Thornton then I may make it out to their entire out of the box series. So far for me the Sandler Center has one at bat and one home run!