give thanks for openers

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You’ve probably never heard of them. If you have, it’s because you saw their name listed on the website under the headliner. You didn’t recognize the name and immediately thought, well “I’ll just get there a little bit later”.  Instead, you’re robbing yourself of the full value of your ticket.

Opening bands get continually maligned from the veteran concert goer to the person who sees one or two shows a year.   Toiling in obscurity for a while, the band is either on their first EP or an album that hasn’t quite received the hype needed to be fully realized. When someone buys their ticket, they’re not just buying it for the headliner, the “special guest” is also coming along. If you’re lucky, they band will be incredibly good.

I understand that some openers aren’t that great and often get relegated to the opener status for good reason.  However, some venues do their best to promote local bands as warm-up acts. What this does is continue to foster music in the community while using the draw of a big name to get people interested in the scene. Local bands in cities outside of areas like New York and Los Angeles must work harder to get noticed and make their way in to a contract situation.

We Are Scientists-The Great Escape

Every show I go to, I try to be there as soon as I can. I don’t need to be there when the doors open, but I’ll try to be there before show time.  Many times, yes, the opener is not a quality act. When you get a great act, you have to celebrate it. For me, it was nice to see Phoenix bring out DIIV earlier this year.  Stylistically divergent from the headliner, DIIV played an intense opening set that got the crowd ready for a solid performance from the French rock group. A memory that particularly sticks in my mind is the first tour of Arctic Monkeys.  Their opener was We Are Scientists, a band I had not heard of despite having two albums out.  Instead, I discovered a new band who had great stage banter lead up to an otherwise disappointing Monkeys show.

Opening bands are not just there to fill up time.  Musicians want to play as many shows as possible, and this gets them noticed.  Please, next time, show up for the opener.

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