Opening Bands That Changed Our Lives

Freshman year of college, I went with a friend to see MuteMath at Mr. Smalls Theatre in Pittsburgh. We planned to get there just before MuteMath went on, but we happened to arrive just in time to catch the opener, Romes. We loved them so much, we caught a Greyhound to Cleveland the next day to see them play again! Romes has become one of my favorite live bands, I’m super thankful I accidentally got there in time to see them play. Serendipity!

Discovering a new band that you absolutely love is one the best feelings in the world, so we asked 7 fans about that magical moment of falling in love with an opening band:

Citizen by Charlyne

In 2018, I followed over half of The Story So Far’s European tour, and Citizen were supporting. I had heard of them, but hadn’t listened to them before the first show in Berlin. I immediately fell in love. They played “The Night I Drove Alone,” and the singalongs in the venue gave me chills. The second show of the tour was a seven hour bus journey away, and I spent it all listening to them because I wanted to take part in the singalong!

Citizen on their European tour
Citizen on their European tour

By the end of the tour, I knew most of their songs by heart, and they have since become one of my favourite bands. I saw them headline a show in London a few months later, and I can’t wait until they tour again. Listening to them always takes me back to my favourite European adventure, and that night in Berlin is the definition of love at first sight. 


Direct Hit! by Aaz R.

I saw Direct Hit! open for Anti-Flag and Reel Big Fish at The Ritz Ybor in Tampa, FL. This is still probably my favorite show that I’ve ever been to. It’s super important to me because after this night, I started making it a point to see more live music based on how much fun I had. Direct Hit! played an amazing set, and were super friendly and welcoming towards me and my little cousin (imagine two small teenage asian girls at a punk gig) when we talked to them at their merch table.

They played pretty accessible/smaller gigs around Tampa, so my cousin and I did our best to go to as many as we could. They even recognized us and thanked us for making it when we saw them. I’m really glad I got into DH!, they showed me how much more intimate smaller bands can be and encouraged me to get into local music!

Aaz R.

De’Wayne Jackson by Frankie B.

I was going to see the band Waterparks for the first time, on the very first show of their tour.  I was super excited to see one of my favorite bands live. Just before the tour started, there was some drama regarding the originally selected openers, but in the end, the opener was De’Wayne Jackson. I had vaguely heard of him before, but I had never listened to his music at the time. His set was exciting and energetic, and De’Wayne is truly the sweetest person. That show really made me fall in love with his work, and I’ve been a fan ever since.

Frankie B.

Wurlitzer by Brodie Normandin

Around Christmas 2018, my friend Luke Rainsford headlined a show in Birmingham, UK and chose a local band I hadn’t heard of as the opener. The band is called Wurlitzer. We got down early to The Sunflower Lounge, a little 150-cap room beneath a bar in the city centre. A quirky 5-piece band dressed in black with white shoes took to the stage with an assortment of instruments, including synth and flute, alongside the typical indie-rock setup. However when they burst into their debut single ‘Origami,’ they were anything but “typical indie-rock.”

Unlike anything I had heard before, Wurlitzer blended fast-glockenspiel melodies with bouncy drum beats, tambourine shaking, funky bass, and catchy guitar riffs. Since that date, they have only released 2 more songs and I haven’t had a chance to see them play live again. I was very excited to hear some of the amazing unreleased tracks played once again in their recent ‘Sleep Session’ live session on YouTube. A band to look out for. They were even giving out download codes for their song ‘Origami’ as origami at the end of the show. Awesome band!

Brodie Normandin (The Losing Score)

The Garden by Chris DeFlitch

Back in 2017, I showed up early for Mac Demarco at the Mann Center’s Skyline Stage in Philadelphia. Given Mac’s music, I was expecting a relaxed, jam-friendly opening band. To my surprise, my friend and I were greeted by a new band called The Garden. Their odd mix of electronic, punk, and insane stage presence was jarring, but I was hooked immediately. Even during Mac’s set, I couldn’t stop thinking about what I just witnessed. After the show, I immediately went home and studied up. Ever since, I’ve caught The Garden at every Philly show they’ve played. 

Chris DeFlitch

Macseal by Christine Kos

My best friend and I traveled from Toronto to New York City to see our favourite band Prince Daddy & the Hyena. I wasn’t too familiar with the opening acts. One of the bands came up on stage and started playing some catchy songs with amazing riffs! They introduced themselves as Macseal and have since become one of my favourite bands ever!!! So grateful to have caught their set and to be introduced to their amazing music 🙂

Christine Kos (Note: she has since made art for both Prince Daddy and Macseal, how cool!)

Just Friends by Lexi

Just Friends at Sad Summer Fest in Pittsburgh. ?Stevie Priller
Just Friends at Sad Summer Fest in Pittsburgh. ?Stevie Priller

I went to Sad Summer Festival in NYC in the summer of 2019 with one of my friends. We wanted to see Mayday Parade, The Wonder Years, and State Champs and planned on going to meet & greets and buying merch during the opening acts. Having finished up with all of that faster than we thought, we caught some of the openers. One of them was Just Friends. I absolutely fell in love with them after that set. The energy Brianda brought throughout their stage time was unparalleled, and her voice is absolutely incredible. Their music is so fun and their entire vibe set the tone for the rest of the festival!


So there you have it. When you show up early to the show, you never know what magic you might discover!

Is there a time you fell in love with an opening band? Tell us in the comments below!

Need some plans for March? Check out 11 Great Tours Not to Miss This March.

1 comments on “Opening Bands That Changed Our Lives

  1. My buddy and I attended Cage The Elephant at the Crystal Ballroom in Portland Oregon, who were riding high on their bit hit “Ain’t No Rest For The Wicked”.
    I had never heard of the opening band, Foals, and usually don’t pay as much attention to the opener, unless I’m familiar with them.
    By the time they finished I was jaw dropped. I remember looking at my friend and saying, “Cage really will have to “crush” their show, to sound as good as Foals”. They did play a great show, but not as good as Foals!
    I’ve seen Foals almost every time they came back to Portland, and they are now my number 1 listened artist on Spotify.

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