A summer mega tour isn’t worth its namesake if it doesn’t feature a proper pre-game. Although the main act is the ever-important draw to ticket sales, an opener can be equally important. In addition to attracting a larger fan base, their music sets the tone and level of excitement for the act to follow. For summer 2013, here are some opening acts that make the one-two headlining punch a knockout:
Florida Georgia Line, opening for Taylor Swift
Taylor Swift’s massive 2013 tour features accompanying acts ranging from Joel Crouse to Casey James, but Florida Georgia Line are a mainstay. The southern-rock duo is making waves with their hit track “Cruise”, which has over 25 million views on YouTube. The feel-good country vibes of the track, as well as the massive times viewed, coincides well with Swift’s sound. Florida Georgia Line produces a very similar sound, without the boyfriend anecdotes.
Holy Ghost!, opening for New Order
New Order has endured a thriving and eclectic career. Ever since some of their members were in the legendary post-punk group Joy Division, they have treaded all types of waters, from infectious dance-pop to slick guitar-rock. So it makes sense that an equally eclectic group like Holy Ghost! will open for New Order this summer, in addition to spots at festivals like Governor’s Ball. Their exciting and tight electro-pop sound should be a contemporary lead-in to New Order, who sound like the older brothers of Holy Ghost!
Lord Huron, opening for Dave Matthews
Lord Huron is the project of Ben Schneider, who has received acclaim in the music blogosphere the past several years for a caressing folk sound with elements of Afro-pop, chillwave, and other tropically inclined sub-genres of electronica. Using atmospheric samples and electronic wizardry, Lord Huron’s electro-acoustic sound should serve as an engaging opener to Dave Matthews, a legend of the live music scene. Lord Huron has a big spotlight to open up for, but his ambitious sound fits the shoe.
Ellie Goulding, opening for Bruno Mars
The previous three openers on this list remain somewhat unknown, despite some flashes of success. Ellie Goulding could probably sell out large venues on her own, though. The British artist had a debut album in 2010, Lights, which debuted at #1 in the UK Albums chart. Her second album, Halcyon in 2012, drew similar praise and sales, reaching the top five in the UK. Not many can compare in stature in terms of opening acts, but Bruno Mars is a bright enough star. Goulding is joining Bruno Mars on his Moonshine Jungle World Tour, and fans can expect a wonderfully grandiose show with more stars than most.
Crystal Castles, opening for Depeche Mode
Depeche Mode are rightly considered one of the best electronic-pop acts of all time, and are considered by many to have been responsible for ushering electronically incorporated pop music into the mainstream – even as their songs were bizarrely idiosyncratic. Crystal Castles craft a similarly unique electronic sound, both odd and infectious in ways that supplement a darkly romantic sound. That Crystal Castles’ album covers often take place in a graveyard is an allusion to their sound, one filled with synth-tinged darkness like their surefire influences, the main act Depeche Mode.
Zac Brown Band, opening for Kenny Chesney
Country collective Zac Brown Band will join country great Kenny Chesney on the road for several dates this summer, solidifying an all-star lineup throughout Chesney’s tour that also includes Kacey Musgraves and Eric Church. Zac Brown Band are a significant opener, as their popularity has soared recently, but Chesney is sparing no expense for his big The No Shoes Radio Tour, which marks 20 years of touring for Chesney, who continues to be one of country music’s biggest stars.
Chris Young, opening for Brad Paisley
Paisley is also a darling of the country music scene, and his live performances have consistently ranked among some of the best by fans voting on Ticketmaster.com. New opener Chris Young may even elevate that rating even more. The winner of televised singing competition Nashville Star in 2006, Young has several #1 singles to his name, including “Gettin’ You Home (The Black Dress Song)” and “The Man I Want to Be”. Between Young and Paisley, fans are sure to be treated to many familiar sing-along country hits.