so, the other night at the tool concert, after the lights went down, something occurred to me…
…i’ve seen a lot of really shitty opening bands in my day. really shitty. like, “how the fuck did they score a slot on a national tour?” kinda shitty. some, i guess know people. some were probably pimped into the slot ’cause they were on the same record label as the headliner. but some just flat out fucking suck.
by the same token, some have been better than the headliners. as i’ve been to a lot of shows, and kinda owed out a sixer from the one i forgot a couple weeks ago, here’s six of the bad, and six of the good (can’t say they’re the “best” and “worst” i’ve ever seen, per se, but they’re really fucking close…)
the bad –
1. womenhand – might as well start with the most recent…they opened for tool summer 2010. a trio – and three too many people on stage if you want something to listen to. i’m still trying to figure out what the hell this was about…my guess is maynard was testing us to see if we’d stay.
2. the dan reed network – wanna know how i know you suck? when i can still remember the name of your band after you opened for UB40 in 1988. seriously – cover bands on 6th street have more talent and are less predictable. seriously.
3. filter – this one is kinda cheating, as they were the lower slot on a festival (family values 1999) – but they got included because the album they were supporting at the time i dearly loved…front to back. but live? absofuckinglutely horrible.
4. death from above 1979 – as they opened for nine inch nails, which were also supported by queens of the stone age on this tour, i didn’t want my money back. but i wanted my thirty minutes back. i’m old enough to remember 1979 rather vividly…and NOTHING from 1979 sucked this bad. nothing.
5. throwing muses – the only thing even remotely entertaining about this set was that JMS, who went to see the new order technique tour with me and jason bagwell at the now demolished austin city coliseum, was taller than me for the whole set – and i’ve got an inch or three on him…but the crowd rushed forward (why, i don’t know – throwing muses warranted you running the OTHER way, actually) and pinned him between me and bagwell on either side, and them and the barricade front to back. kinda funny.
6. course of empire – i hate to shit on a texas band, particularly one that lucked into opening dates for public enemy when they did some small club dates during a hiatus from the tour they were doing with U2 in 1992…but i found one remix of one song i liked – and that’s all she wrote.
1. o.m.d. – as we started “the bad” with my latest concert experience, we’ll start “the good” with my first one…depeche mode & o.m.d. back in 1988 – they were touring for “music for the masses” and they’re greatest hits collection respectively. for me, at the time, simply magical. (yes, i am WELL aware of how gay that sounded)
2. nitzer ebb – another great depeche opener, this time from the “world violation tour” of 1990. odd thing – at the masses tour in ’88 i heard this clangy music i really liked as they tested the neon orange “bong” speakers at the erwin center and DM’s sound guy told me it was nitzer ebb. went out, bought the cassette (which was the style at the time) and LOVED it. two albums later i saw this show. great, energetic, and still quite clangy.
3. slipknot – classic case of the opener rocking a LOT better than the band they opened for (coal chamber, in this case – at the now defunct backroom). nine insane guys from iowa on a relatively small stage. can’t remember what the first two songs coal chamber played were, but i know i left after ’em.
4. rage against the machine – yes, as an opener. for house of pain, no less, back in 1993. i was one of five people in the audience (and the one person on their guest list). simply amazing. first of four times i saw ’em, and they never disappointed. interestingly, i never saw them in the same venue twice.
5. garbage – great as an opener, not sure as a headliner…worked the show on the latter, but wasn’t impressed. LOVED it when they opened for smashing pumpkins at the erwin center, and afterward i got to make shirley manson make a noise when i accidentally tugged her nipple. we’ll go into that story another time.
6. a perfect circle – first of the four times i saw them, and it was opening for nine inch nails at whatver the starplex in dallas was called that week. i was hammered on maker’s, but i can still remember it was a great show…and that throwing up in a bus bathroom while it careens down IH-35 in the middle of the night was one of the worst experiences of my life. goodnight, everybody!