“The future’s not where it used to be.”
(This song is everything.)
You guys know how I feel about opening acts – don’t ever miss them and, if you’ve never heard of the band, listen to their set with an open mind. You might think you’ll be bored and unimpressed, but I’ve found quite a few of my favorites this way. It’s how I discovered Dave Hause, and the Arkells, and Parsonsfield (sort of. Do the bands who play first at festivals count as openers?). But for as quickly as I took to those bands and as wowed as I was by their performances even when I didn’t know who they were, I’ve never had the sort of instantaneous infatuation that I experienced with Atlas Genius, the band who opened for the Arkells this past weekend.
I’d never even heard of them. A friend said that she’d seen them once before and enjoyed them, and she’s got good taste in music, so that was promising. But I was still a bit indifferent and not curious enough to look into them prior to the show. Which meant that I went into it totally blind, with no idea what to expect. But I certainly didn’t anticipate having my mind blown before they’d gotten through their first song. When they sauntered onto the stage, my best friend Angela (a music fan but not a concert-goer who joined me last weekend for one of my usual gig excursions and now thinks I’m completely crazy, but that’s a story for another day) turned to me and said, “They aren’t American, are they?” They carried themselves with a panache that isn’t common here, so we weren’t surprised when they said they are, in fact, Australian. But while I loved their style, it was their music that doomed me to fall down yet another rabbit hole of new (to me) music. It’s edgy, infectious synth-rock that (of course) calls to mind the ’80s (they even covered Dead or Alive’s “You Spin Me Round (Like a Record)” and everyone in the crowd lost their collective shit at that moment) while sounding completely modern. I spent their entire set enraptured, unable to stop myself from dancing. And when they announced that they had gotten to their last song, the disappointment was bitter – I couldn’t believe that time had passed that quickly. I didn’t want them to stop. I wanted to hear them play for another hour and even then I probably wouldn’t have been satisfied. This is no small thing. Even if I’m enjoying an opener, I’m usually so jazzed for the headliners that I’m too not sorry when they wrap up their set. This counts doubly when I’m not familiar with them. So I couldn’t have been more surprised in my reaction to Atlas Genius. I’d never heard a single one of their songs prior to that night, but I knew instantly that I’d found a(nother) band to love. It’s been three days since that night and I’ve listened to nothing else since then. And, perhaps unsurprisingly, I’ve already got my ticket for when they come back to town.