You know them – they’re the band that opens for the band you’re going to see, or the band you’re going to see is opening for them. If you’re really lucky, there are many bands in one night, so your $5 cover charge gets you oodles of great music to last all night. If you’re like most people I know, you like Band X, and you try to arrive exactly when Band X starts and leave right after they’re done. Why? Because most other bands suck!

As a local musician in Boston for most of a decade, I found it to be true that *many* bands are … not good. But, by sticking around after Band X was done, I was exposed to some of the best music I’d ever heard from local musicians. It all started when I went to see a man named Dan Blakeslee play at Herrell’s Cafe in Brighton, MA …

I met Dan at UNH. My friend Dave and I were on our way to the Memorial Union Building to hear some people play, and Dan was sitting in a hallway, strumming his guitar. We suggested that he go to the MUB to perform for a crowd, and he did. Years later, I went to see Dan at Herrell’s, and after his set, when I was just about to leave, he suggested we head over to the Kells, which was having an open mic night. I hesitated, because I didn’t really want to hang out any more than I’d mentally planned for, but I gave in, and open mic night it was. The last performer of the night at the Kells was Roseshel Doyle, and she blew me away! So much so that I joined her mailing list and kept tabs on when she was playing. I managed to find the time to go see her play a full set (at a bar whose name escapes me). When she wrapped up her set, she said “Stick around for local radio.” I thought it was odd to ask people to stick around if the bar was just going to turn on a local station. I didn’t know that Local Radio was the name of the next band.

Watching these guys assemble their equipment on the stage was amusing. Their frontman looked like a badass, and I was expecting some horrible death metal to come out of him. What I was treated to was the most gentle vocal intro to a song, well sung, and spot on key. He had the smoothest voice! They played probably ten songs, and I was glued to their performance. I walked away utterly impressed and happy that I’d stayed.

A few months later I was at the Middle East club to hang up some posters for an upcoming show of my own, and I saw this guy standing in the doorway of a nearby club, pimping his own music. I recognized him as Dave, the lead singer for Local Radio. After hanging my own promo material, I made it to his show and relived all the goodness. We kept in touch after that, and when I went to another show of his, I got there early. The opening band was called South 16, and they were AMAZING! I quickly befriended Cate, the singer for that band, and she ended up singing on an Epiphora song a few years later. Local Radio then put on a great show.

When I went to see South 16 play again, the opening band was called Lincoln Conspiracy, which was a band I’d seen opening for Bishop Strike (my Band X) a while before. They were an interesting band – just two guys. One played piano, and the other drummed and sang. I got to know them better, and at one point, they asked me to fill in on bass for them for a huge gig, opening for Dada at Harpers Ferry, a mega venue in Allston, MA. We easily played to a thousand people that night.

Not too long after, Dave from Local Radio asked me to join his band, and I did. We played together for over a year, and finally the band broke up, and we all went our separate ways. Being in that band was the ultimate reward for listening to other bands. We did record one song, and you can hear it right here – I’m Not The One.

While you may not have the luck I did, and you’re likely not in a band looking to network, you just might want to consider sticking around (or showing up early) for that other band … Band Y. Believe me, I’ve *been* in Band Y, and we’re happy for every scrap of support you can show us.

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