When attending a concert, the opening acts have the power to make a concert one of the best or in some cases, the worst. Either way, the opening band is crucial to any concertgoers’ experience. So Artsweek has taken it upon itself to decide what makes a good opening band.
There are four crucial elements that make up any good performance. The first – and most obvious – is that the opening act has to be good. They have to have good material, good lyrics and the ability to perform well. The opener has to also entertain the crowd. This seems obvious, but is not always the case for some performers. Oftentimes, performers are so involved with themselves that they forget who they are playing for. Performers need to remember that they are there for the audience and not the other way around. Which brings us to point number three: Performers need to have stage presence. They need to make the audience feel they are worth listening too. It is important for a band to be aware of the audience’s feeling toward the music. Too many times have I seen performers turn away from the audience members and toward themselves as if they are having a jam session with the rest of the band. In essence, the band is signaling to the audience that they care more about the interaction they are having with their other band mates than the audience. The last is that they need to make the audience want to buy their CD after only listening to them live. This is the ultimate goal of any opening act.
There are many bands that are excellent opening bands, but one that most of us can connect to is the Howling Bells. The Howling Bells, who opened for The Killers, are one of those bands that was instantaneously a hit. They were able to connect with the audience and not just through having a female singer. Both the bassist and the guitarist were on stage having fun entertaining the crowd.
Another band capable of entertaining a variety of crowds is 8-bit. With crass lyrics about sucking dicks, 8-bit is one of the most entertaining bands that I have ever seen. With their elementary dance moves and their ridiculous costumes, which consist of radiation suits, 8-bit is extremely entertaining.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, Solarcade displayed what should not be done on stage. The singer was self-absorbed and, even though the bassist was having the time of her life, Solarcade had no presence on stage.
All things considered, opening bands need to understand that it is likely that most people have not heard of them therefore making it more difficult to entertain, as the audience does not know the lyrics. Opening bands need to have fun while on stage and make sure that the audience is having fun with them.