Landing a slot as a support act for a hot artist can be a huge deal for a new-and-developing act, but it's not always a pleasurable experience. Sure you get a chance to expose your act to a potentially large crowd of music lovers, but there's no guarantee that they'll give you the time or day. Sometimes they can even get hostile. If you thought former President George W. Bush received a bad reception during his last visit to Iraq when an Iraqi journalist chucked his shoes at him, you definitely didn't want to be in Prince's high-heeled boots when he opened for the Rolling Stones at the Los Angeles Coliseum way back in 1981. The future Purple One had cans and other projectiles thrown his general direction before he was unceremoniously booed off the stage. Apparently Stones fans didn't dig his outfit--bikini briefs, leg warmers, high-heeled boots and a trench coat.
The Los Angeles-based trio known as the Daylights didn't have any such an experience on Saturday night when it opened Katy Perry's sold-out gig at the Wiltern. For one thing, they were fully clothed. Nonetheless, we were kind of stunned by the warm reaction the band received from the crowd there to see pop music's It Girl. As is often the case with opening acts, we nearly missed their set after a long wait for a table at a nearby Mexican joint, but we did make it in time to see a few songs and the crowd's enthusiastic response.
Musically, the Daylights are inoffensive and highly commercial. Our younger companion thought they sounded a bit like U2, but we thought of less-edgy acts like the Wallflowers and Counting Crows. Fellow scribe Ben Wener of the Orange County Register, who gave a favorable review to Perry, was less generous. "Hand-picked opening act the Daylights were considerably less impressive, however, despite guitarist-vocalist Ran Jackson valiantly soldiering on with a broken hand," he wrote. "The trio, abetted here by Switchfoot guitarist Drew Shirley, came off resolutely generic - the sound of Lifehouse with the look of Maroon 5."
Ouch. Yet the crowd didn't seem to mind. In fact, the audience seemed to love them. Singer-guitarist Jackson does know how to work it. He told the mostly young female crowd that the band would love to meet fans in the lobby after the show. Sure enough, a swarm of girls surrounded the band after Perry's set. You can see the evidence in the photo below provided by new Daylights fan Hillary Hanson.
Perry also endorsed the band from the stage and noted to the industry-heavy crowd that the Daylights are unsigned. We're wondering why the response was so positive. Was it simply a Saturday-night high with people in a good mood and excited about the impending appearance of Perry or was there something more at work here? Are the Daylights future stars in the making?
It's interesting to note that the Daylights have also toured with hit-makers OneRepublic. Despite its free-agent status, the band appears to be well funded and connected. The Daylights have released two EPs and it recently recorded a still-to-be-released full album in London with Youth, the single-named producer who collaborates with Paul McCartney on his recordings released under the Fireman moniker.
If you saw the Daylights on tour opening for Perry or OneRepublic, let us know what you thought. For those who didn't, view the clips below and listen to their EP and tell us if you think the Daylights are worthy of more attention or are they just Perry's mannequins, who are benefiting from her buzz, but have little potential to stand on their own.
Listen to the Daylights' Sans Radio EP.