A recent tweet from Gabrielle Aplin got me thinking about where the future of support bands lies. In said tweet, she mentioned that it was increasingly hard to book bands to open for her on tour, without giving reason, but it’s perhaps pretty obvious.
With the internet at our fingertips new music has never been so accessible. Every single week Spotify delivers a new playlist, ‘Discover Weekly’ straight into my ears, where I can hear all the newest releases, curated with my listening habits in mind. It’s tailor made for me. I also follow a plethora of other playlists, all updated regularly, and I am just one of millions doing this. Opening for a band or an artist used to be surefire way of increasing those that listen to you, but nowadays maybe it just isn’t worth a bands time. I can’t imagine they get paid handsomely for the job, so perhaps churning out more music, thus getting added to more playlists, is far more valuable. I’ve read countless times that the majority of money in music comes from touring now, but I really doubt this is the case for small openings bands! Who can say for sure, but one thing is certain- the internet is a bands best friend.
It’s hard to see a future without some sort of opening band, but I’ve been to countless gigs where the audience has paid little attention to the support band, yet danced along wholeheartedly to ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ over the PA system. Maybe DJs are the way forward. The audience undoubtedly needs some sort of warm up, but maybe a live band performing songs the majority don’t know isn’t the answer. In fact, when I saw Foals last year, as well as a support band they had two members from Peace DJing. In effect, this meant that thousands of people knew they were seeing a band called Peace without even hearing a Peace song, instead enjoying songs they already knew. Maybe this was more effective, again, who can say for sure?
Personally, I enjoy a support band. I first saw Everything Everything support Two Door Cinema Club, and they’ve now gone on to be the band I’ve seen the most ever, and they’re one of my all time favourites. But for every Everything Everything there are a dozen bands I can’t even remember the name of. So, where does the future of support bands lie?
Let me know what you think! Thanks for reading!