Opening Acts

Monday night I found myself in Kansas City’s popular Uptown Theater, very cool venue by the way, anxiously awaiting the onstage arrival of Fleet Foxes. But of course, we first had to make it through the anonymous opening act. You know the band, the one with goofy lyrics, annoying or otherwise generic vocals, and all-in-all completely forgettable. That’s when something funny happened…

They totally killed.

Alela Diane took the stage as an attractive but somewhat unassuming young woman with her band, Wild Divine. The melodies were catchy, the harmonies were pleasant, and they seemed pros at knowing when to hold back and let the vocals do the work while also letting lose for a few jams.

The crowd was completely captivated. Normally you can hear the buzz of the crowd during the opening act as a sign of general apathy and boredom, but this was different. Silence. Except for the band that would receive the loudest ovation I’ve ever heard for an “anonymous” opening act.

All in all, they were the perfect opening act for Fleet Foxes matching their melodic tones and overall laid-back style. I would expect more from Alela Diane in the years to come.

So feel free to discuss Alela Diane or share thoughts on other “anonymous” opening acts that happened to catch your ear.

**Fleet Foxes were tremendous, in case you were wondering.

12 thoughts on “Opening Acts

  1. The best opening act I ever saw was Dog’s Eye View, who opened for BNL in 1995 (at DV8 in Salt Lake). Peter Stuart was mesmerizing. The next day, I bought both their discs and am still a big Peter Stuart fan.

    Last week, before David Gray, I saw what may have been the WORST opening act. I don’t even remember her name, but it was a little slice of torture.

  2. The best shows are the ones where the opening bands blow you away. LOVE it when that happens.

    The first to spring to my mind was when I saw Soundgarden open for Love and Rockets in 1986. I’d heard about Soundgarden from a friend, who had heard a song off a demo being played on a college radio station, but I didn’t know what they were like. I had been standing next to someone in line before the show that was chain smoking clove cigarettes, and it made me really nauseous. When Soundgarden came on, nothing else existed but them. Nausea was completely forgotten. It was incredible. As soon as they were done, my nausea came back.

  3. Another one I just thought of (and a little more in line with the style of Alela Diane) was when I saw Jesse Sykes open for Mark Kozelek. Such a great show.

    “With reckless burning
    I have been charged again”

    And such a great song. You have to change your pace to really appreciate it.

  4. I saw Paul Simon “open” for Dylan 10 years ago or so.

    I saw Marvin the Mandolin Player as an opening act for either Toad the Wet Sproket or The Samples in college. Everyone else hated him but I thought he was great, but I love the mandolin. Best Rod Stewart song is Maggie Mae due to the mandolin solo. Oddly, I heard an interview with Rod in which he admitted that he couldn’t remember who played that solo. Shameful.

  5. I drove to Logan to see a band I liked as the opening band. We stayed for about 2 songs from the main band then went home.

    It was the Hush Sound opening for OneRepublic.

    that Alela Diane is wonderful music!

  6. When I was in high school, one of my friends went to a Motley Crue concert. He came back and spent an hour talking to me about the opening band. They blew him away. It was an unknown band named Guns ‘N Roses.

    I don’t go to enough concerts to participate, but the topic reminds me of a great Paul and Storm song. (warning: PG-language)

  7. I have seen a lot of opening bands over the years that I came to love:

    Augustana, Snow Patrol, The Hush Sound, Mute Math, Motion City Soundtrack, All-American Rejects, The Academy Is, Band of Skulls,

    To name just a few. I love opening bands I’ve never heard of because I’m always interested to see something new.

  8. I’m going way back with this memory, to 1982 and the 9:30 Club in Washington DC. I went with a group of friends to see The Waitresses, who were (somewhat) riding high on the charts with “I Know What Boys Like.”

    However, it was the opening act that blew us away: an unknown singer/songwriter backed up by two other musicians – basically, a power trio. Each song was catchy and smart, and we all were very impressed. It turned out that it was Marshall Crenshaw, whose first album was being released that week.

    The next year I saw The Go-Gos open for The Police (Syncronicity Tour) at the Capitol Centre. But The Go-Gos were already pretty well-known at the time – they had already charted with “My Lips Are Sealed,” and I considered it more of a double bill. That said, I found their set more entertaining than the Police’s set.

  9. Vampire Weekend had some hideously bad band opening for them a couple of years ago. I (thankfully) can’t remember the name of the group now…

  10. He hasn’t taken off at all, but I was really impressed by Cory Chisel when I saw him open for a terrible act I would be too embarrassed to mention.

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