Getting to be a opening band can be a great opportunity to play to bigger audience and garner a bigger fanbase. Sometimes however, the opening bands can be better than their headlining counterparts.
Don’t get me wrong, Cage the Elephant are a great live band. When I first saw them at Bonnaroo, they had all the energy of an era shaped by punk rock attitudes. They had crazy outfits, the band surfed the crowd, and even asked the audience to rush the stage. It might have been one of the best live shows of my life.
Matthew Schultz has the kind of energy that when it’s on, it’s amazing, but when it’s off it can be grating. Saint Louis can be a difficult city to play. It is right smack in the middle of the country, making it usually right smack in the middle of the tour. Turnout was rather low and the entire second balcony was closed off. It’s not a major music city so those who came out, were more than likely already dedicated fans.
The real stars of the show were the opening band, the 22-20s. The 22-20s garnered a bit of attention a few years ago while touring with Supergrass, but took a hiatus and disappeared from the radio waves. A few years later, they are back and better than ever. The 22-20s still have always had a blues inspired sound, but they have returned with a much more rock ‘n’ roll feel. Lead vocalist Martin Trimble’s voice is the perfect accent to the song’s dark sounds.
Autovaughn, the featured band of the night, also put on a very good performance. It is definitely an accomplishment when the audience is singing a long to songs they had never heard before. Their songs are simple and sweet but with enough heavy guitar to escape the pop category.