It seems like only yesterday that I was a sophomore in high school, impatiently waiting to see Ben Folds in the Aragon Ballroom with ten or so of my closest friends. Though I didn’t want to admit this at the time, I approached concerts with a bit of haste in those days. I wasn’t very enthusiastic to see opening acts and would have said something along the lines of, “why can’t I just see Ben Folds play for all the slots?” There’s that teenage impatience that I knew so well. It might have been the experience of this show that begun my turnaround in that department, or maybe it was my many festival attendances during the summers to follow. Whatever it was, I will always remember this concert vividly, not only because Ben Fold killed it, because he did, but because it was the time in which I truly found an appreciation for an opening act.
I could go all day about my views on the modern concert model, like the fact that every band is expected to give an encore…those are supposed to be rare and earned! Now it is just part of the system, and I am not a fan. Moving forward, another aspect that has come out of the more modern approach of live shows is having two or three opening acts. It doesn’t sound like much, but when you’ve sat through two opening acts that you haven’t enjoyed, you just want to see the show you intended to pay for. That was the case at this show as well. The first act, which was riveting, intelligently titled their group The Dum Dum Girls. At least they were accurate with their name, because it was not enjoyable by any means and probably my least favorite concert I’ve ever seen. The second act, however, blew me away and commonly stays on my playlists to this day.
Though they have had a few member changes and one name change, the group still hasn’t made it too far. To put it into perspective, I recently had a friend message me saying, “I found a new band on spotify today, then I liked them on Facebook and you were the only other person to like them.” Formed in 2007 in California after meeting in a UCLA a Capella group, Lady Danville, now Hunter Hunted, are sure to keep your interest.
The way I would describe their first project, which only produced two EPs, would be generic yet unique. At first glance, their talent is evident. The vocals are strong, the percussion, mostly done electronically and live, is clear and probably the most innovative sounding. The guitars, words, and melodies themselves are sweet to the ears, but seem like nothing too special. Through all of this, they still have me coming back for more after four years. This is why I consider their talent very highly; I truly don’t understand how they keep bringing me back.
It’s not that they are stealing chord progressions or melodies from others, and I by no means think I could produce what they are producing, but it was more of a gut feeling when I first started getting into them. I was also inclined to give them that chance after seeing their stage presence and personalities come out live, more than what you usually see from an opening act.
Some of my favorite representations of their music is the polyrhythmic introduction in “Anthem,” the a Capella breakdown near the end of “David,” and the playfulness of “Cars.” Lady Danville was an incredibly fitting opening act for Ben Folds when I saw them, and I honestly expected them to be much better off today.
Through all of this, they continue to pursue music today under the name of Hunter Hunted. They’ve lost one member from their original trio, but added four more and since produced a five-track EP and played on Conan. Be on the lookout for this group as long as they don’t experience issues like their last project, because they are quickly on the rise in the industry today.