October 20, 2010 - 11:00 pm
It was less a trial by fire than a baptism in flames.
Melodic, metallic Vegas rockers And She Whispered recently played the first show of their first tour at San Francisco’s Regency Ballroom, a storied hundred-year-old hall with a capacity of close to 1,300.
It was the kickoff of a major metal bill headlined by Massachusetts metalcore favorites All That Remains and also featuring notables Unearth, Asking Alexandria and Born of Osiris.
It’s a big lineup to be a part of, especially for a young band that has been together for only a little more than a year.
Some of them are still in their teens.
And so while landing a tour like this is a huge opportunity, it also can be a little daunting, like being the fresh-faced rookie in a locker room full of grizzled veterans.
Cue some serious towel snapping.
“We thought we were going to be, like, almost picked on, on the tour,” And She Whispered singer/guitarist Tyler Simmons admits while traveling from the tour’s second show in Reno. “But everyone is so welcoming, helping us out. Like, the guitar tech is helping me change my strings — anything we need.”
Though they’re only two shows into the monthlong trek, the band has begun to make a name for themselves. They sold so many shirts already that they have to stop back home on the way to a gig in San Diego to get more.
The reception is especially hard-earned considering that And She Whispered’s sound is as hooky as it is heavy, and they’re not out to be as bruising as the other bands on the bill.
But winning over potentially fickle crowds every night is only half the battle for Simmons. He’s still completing high school, having withdrawn from class to do his studies online along with bassist Jake Massanari.
“We’re sitting on our laptops every morning, finishing up our schoolwork,” Simmons says. “It’s definitely tough. I wake up in the morning super tired because of the late night before, but you’ve got to do it.”
Simmons is getting another kind of education on the road.
This has been a big year for And She Whispered, who got their first real break in the spring when they won the Xpoz “Battle of the Fans” competition, which earned them a slot playing in front of thousands at the annual “Extreme Thing” music and sports fest.
That was a turning point for the band, and since then, their momentum has been ticking upward right along with the mileage on their van.
“Before, it was just kind of for fun. And that wasn’t even that long ago,” Simmons says. “Everything has changed so much. Everything is progressing super fast.”
Contact reporter Jason Bracelin at [email protected] or 702-383-0476.