With the internet being the main music provider nowadays, it is easy, simple and quick to discover new bands on the go. But how good is it really? Do you keep listening to a band that you have randomly heard after having clicked on a SoundCloud or YouTube link? Even by listening to a full album of a random unknown band, I would rarely come back to their music in the future. What has been working well for me during the last few years is discovering new bands on stage, mainly as support bands.
I know far too many people who don’t like going to a concert early because “the support band will be crap anyway”. No, no no! My point is that you are going to see the headline band so you will know every line of all their songs. You will probably not even listen to the music as you will be singing louder than the actual singer. So leave yourself to be surprised by something you have not asked for, something you don’t know and were not prepared for.
If you are going to a gig, that should mean that you know how to appreciate music. A support band will showcase their music which is usually unknown and they will play as well as they can to impress you. Obviously their songs could still be far from perfect, otherwise they would be the headline act, but that should not put you off from the core of their music . I believe it is possible to appreciate a song ‘under work’ and if you keep up with the band, you might even realise that their final product ends up being worse than what you heard. The fact that you are listening to a full set of the band gives you a broader look at their musical abilities, which could have remained unheard with only one of their songs on the internet.
I have been to quite a few gigs now, especially in Glasgow where there are tons on every night. I’ve never missed a support act. I won’t tell you about the bad ones I have seen but let me give you a glimpse of some of the best.Very recently, Noah and the Whale were nearly as good as the band they supported at the Hydro, Vampire Weekend, and I wished their set lasted a bit longer. Miles Kane supported the Arctic Monkeys when I saw them over the summer and he was unbelievable.
But, to be fair, these ones are already famous so let’s look at some of the more unknown support bands. Bloc Party who played at the O2 Academy last year were supported by the London band “Theme Park”. That cheerful poppy band showcased their music perfectly and were definitely worth arriving early to watch. As they toured in the UK later that year, they stopped at King Tut’s and I took this opportunity to attend their own concert.
My favourite one, “Let’s Talk about Space” was an unexpected treat and they have now entered the A-Team of my music library (with only the few songs they have). I discovered them before Sebastien Tellier came on stage at the Arches in December last year. The size of the venue made their show very private. Their space-inspired electronic music show filled the Arches with timeless music. It was incredible to witness such a quality performance from a band who had only released five tracks at the time.
Overall, the support bands just want you to discover and appreciate their music. Let yourself be surprised when you go to your next gig. They need your support to keep going in their musical career. Someday you might be impressed to see how far one of them you saw went. Just keep rockin’ mate, keep rockin’.
You can check Theme Park here https://soundcloud.com/themepark ; and Let’s Talk about Space here http://letstalkaboutspace.bandcamp.com/album/sailing-to-the-moon.