Fans of the Los Angeles Dodgers are often criticized for strolling into the stadium around the third inning and taking off before the seventh inning stretch (among many other not-so-nice things). Many critics blame this on a lack of love for baseball in comparison to the prideful fans in, say, Boston or the north side of Chicago. But this phenomenon of indifferent fans is by no means exclusive to baseball. It permeates throughout much of LA culture… especially the music scene. Set times for concerts are often posted prior to the show, and self-important “fans” stroll in minutes before the headlining act is supposed to preform. This consistently happens at various venues and at concerts of various styles throughout the city.
Perhaps I’m just speaking as an ex-Midwestern kid with a jaded heart, or maybe I’m just growing up and realizing people care less and less about the little guy when it comes to music. Either way, it’s a shame that so many people in this city miss out on entertaining opening acts.
The beauty of opening bands is, of course, that they’re unknown. Excluding big-name duel headlining tours— Weezer and Foo Fighters’ Foozer tour from a few years ago comes to mind— opening acts typically consist of relatively young or unheard of bands. The purpose of them touring with more well-known acts is so that people will hear them and so that their fan base will grow. This cannot happen if no one shows up to a venue early.
When I saw Titus Andronicus at the Bootleg Theatre last year, a band called Let’s Wrestle opened for them. I had never heard of the group, but I was impressed by their brand of loud, scrappy garage rock. I bought one of their albums, and continue to be a fan of the UK band.
When I saw Surfer Blood at the Echoplex a month or so ago, a cool band called Wounded Lion opened for them. I ended up buying a t-shirt and an album, and I look forward to hearing more from them in the future.
There are numerous other examples of concerts that I attended in which the unknown opening band was incredibly impressive. Yet, in typical LA fashion, the audience was relatively empty.
There’s not much else to argue here. The sole purpose of this article is to encourage people to show up early to concerts, as you never know what you might find (in all honesty, I’m guilty of the “dodger effect” as well… I don’t always want to waste my time watching bands that I don’t know).
The musical community in LA is incredibly impressive. There’s a concert every night in pretty much any genre you can imagine. There are expensive, huge name headliners as well as cheap and/or free shows. There’s always someone entertaining to see around the area. But whoever you’re seeing likely has someone opening up for them, and you should give that band a shot, too.