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Part 1: Best and Worst Openers

The Mercy Arms

Remember when the White Stripes opened for Sleater-Kinney? How about when the Shins opened for Modest Mouse? Door times are for the birds, but sometimes it does pay to show up early.

Worst Openers

We try to stay positive, but that doesn't mean there aren't acts that flat out boil our brains. In fact, some folks inspire such rancor that we question whether or not to even review them. Our editor's advice? Wait until the end of the year, and then we'll really roast 'em.

5. First Nation/Soft Circle w/ Boredoms

7 July 2007: Brooklyn, NY

Boredoms' 77-drummer-driven performance of 77Boardrum was such a monumental event that you’d expect its openers to realize they were a side note. If only. These folks proved that the only thing worse than half-cocked, deconceptualized avant-electronics is half-cocked, deconceptualized avant-electronics karaoke. Because of the enormous set-up (there were, after all, 77 drum sets), both acts were forced to sing (and, in one case, play drums) to pre-recorded backing tracks -- leveling hours of lackluster sound over an audience brimming with anticipation for something else entirely. Lucky for legend (if not our ears), the performance that would follow went down in history without the unnecessary, unwelcome openers attached. -Andrew Phillips

4. Gravity A w/ Black Moth Super Rainbow

17 August 2007: Philadelphia, PA

I know it's the season of goodwill and that one of the three wise men brought (frank)incense for baby Jesus, but that doesn't mean you should bring it to a concert. The smell, which emanated from Gravity's merchandise stand, was only slightly more off-putting than their sound -- a mess drenched in stoned hippie grooves and flailing dreadlocks. -Kevin Pearson

3. Aloha w/ Sparta

11 March 2007: Brooklyn, NY

Last year Aloha landed the number 2 spot on this very chart with a future prognosis that went something like this: A set of utterly indistinguishable indie scenesters, Aloha’s only real asset is its ability to ape the success of other acts. The good news? Even pity has its limits, and they can only ride coattails for so much longer. Like many publications, we here at PM are not immune to the occasional mis-diagnosis, so what say we set things right with a long overdue correction: The bad news? Pity has no limits, and these boys may just keep riding coattails until they've outlived us all. -Andrew Phillips

2. Good Charlotte w/ Justin Timberlake

12 August - 17 September 2007: Nationwide

Newsflash! Forgettable skate-punk band commits career suicide by opening for genre-challenged pop star. Good Charlotte sucked (not to mentioned upchucked on every ethos that could possibly qualify them as "punk") long before they went on tour with Justin Timberlake, but c'mon, how much lower can they go? For a single ticket price, you could see a bunch of lame, tattooed dweebs open for a painfully Caucasian pop singer who might actually be more punk than they are. That, my friends, is known as a "Two-bagger." -Adam Williams

1. Fiction Plane w/ the Police

6 November 2007: Charlottesville, VA

In the ultimate act of rock n’ roll nepotism, Sting asked his his son’s relatively unestablished band, Fiction Plane, to open up for one of the biggest tours of the year. Stinglet Joe Sumner sounded and moved just like his dad, which might have made up for the ridiculously unfair jump from bars to stadiums, that is, if the music wasn’t a boring blend of adult contemporary pap and alterna-rock. It’s a sound custom-built for radio play but with no real vitality and none of Dad’s memorable hooks. A Sting without the sting? Don’t stand so close to me! -Brent Baldwin


Best Openers

Remember when the White Stripes opened for Sleater-Kinney? How about when the Shins opened for Modest Mouse? Door times are for the birds, but sometimes it does pay to show up early.

5. Tender Forever w/ Electrelane

9 June 2007: Philedelphia, PA

Opening for Electrelane, Tender Forever’s take on electro-pop, folktronica, and R&B won over the small-but-swelling crowd. Backed only by pre-recorded tracks, Melanie Valera cut a lonely, yet imposing, figure on stage. Moving, grooving, and eventually stagediving, the French singer snuck into our hearts with her unhinged take on singer-songwriter stereotypes. -Kevin Pearson

4. The Mercy Arms

30 March 2007 and 8 June 2007: Sydney, AUS

Weirdo avant-rockers the Mercy Arms pulled off a rare double-punch in 2007, opening for both the coolest old band in the world (The Pixies) and the coolest new band in the world (The Horrors). Looks like they’re poised to take 2008 by storm, finally heading out on their own -- that is, assuming the Beatles don't get back together and offer them an opening slot. -Nick Gunn

3. Sea Wolf w/ All Smiles

19 May 2007: Chicago, IL

All Smiles’ debut disc created high expectations, but all hope for an energetic live show fizzled as the band's set dragged on. I would have been angry, but, like a local anesthetic, Sea Wolf had numbed me in preparation for the pain. With vocals that made one think Jeff Tweedy had a secret side project, the sweet, swirling set was so calming, one wonders if, like the anesthesiologist prepping the patient for surgery, they knew full well what would happen after they finished their job. -Chris Catania

2. Apples in Stereo w/ Television

12 June 2007: New York, NY

Ignore the pure randomness of seeing Elephant 6-alumni Apples in Stereo opening for Television. The power-pop group blasted through a tuneful and fantastically revitalizing set centered on 2007’s New Magnetic Wonder. Hearing “Sun Is Out” amid a downpour of rain wasn’t just irony; it was a celebration of raw, melodic energy. -Zach Schonfeld

1. LCD Soundsystem w/ Arcade Fire

20 September 2007: Los Angeles, CA

There’s no question that LCD Soundsystem are club-cat extroidinaires, but the legendary Hollywood Bowl ain't no down-and-dirty dancefloor. To fill this open-air mini-arena you’d need a dicso ball the size of all LA. Lucky for us, James Murphy and co. came bearing the biggest ball they could find -- really, even from the cheap seats, that thing was HUGE -- glittering their way through an unexpectedly intimate set. Outdoing even Arcade Fire in his comfortable embrace of the venue’s massive environs, Murphy stepped up like an early-era Morrissey, his smooth hand glides and cool-as-ice stutter steps betraying a genuine, stadium-ready rock god on the rise. -Andrew Phillips

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