Music

The 10 Weirdest Support Acts Ever

If you went to see the Monkees back in the sixties, one night you might have turned up early and seen...Jimi Hendrix. Who'd have thought?

Putting musical bills together is a tricky business: sometimes they're bands with contrary musical styles, sometimes they're bizarre cabaret acts, and sometimes, just sometimes, they're Bodger from Bodger and Badger.

Whatever they are, here's your chance to go to the bar...

[Images: Allstar/Rex]

  • The 10 Weirdest Support Acts Ever

    1.

    The Ramones Supporting Toto

    According to the memoir On The Road With The Ramones, by the band's long-time tour manager Monte A Melnick, booking agents didn't know who to pair the Ramones with at first.

    "We opened for everyone from Black Sabbath to Foreigner. For some strange reason, they even had us open up for Toto ... My God! Luckily the crowd was half asleep and they didn't have the time or energy to boo."

    Toto, of course, weren't particularly punk.

  • The 10 Weirdest Support Acts Ever 1

    2.

    Manic Street Preachers supporting Bon Jovi

    Politically-charged rockers the Manics were a surprising choice to support FM rock titans Bon Jovi at Milton Keynes bowl in September 1993.

    Speaking to BBC Wales in 2008, bassist Nicky Wire recalled the gig as "terrible".

    "'I remember Jon Bon Jovi coming on and thanking the bands: 'It's been a fantastic night and I'd like to thank everyone who's supported us, starting with the Maniacs!' That's how much they knew us."

  • The 10 Weirdest Support Acts Ever 2

    3.

    The Jackson 5 Supported by A Juggler

    Here is a photo of The Jackson 5. Nice crash helmets, guys! On their 1984 Victory tour, the band were supported by comedian and juggler Chris Bliss. He literally just juggled. Maybe they'd spent all the budget on their outfits. 

    (In fairness, Bliss's act is pretty amazing. Though still way short of The Jacksons in their pomp, obviously.)

  • The 10 Weirdest Support Acts Ever 3

    4.

    Former Genesis Guitarist Steve Hackett Supported By Bodger from Bodger And Badger

    This actually happened. In 1981, ex-Genesis guitarist Steve Hackett was supported by ventriloquist Andy Cunningham and his puppet, a mind-reading rat named Magritte. Cunningham later upgraded his rat to a badger, and the rest is history.

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    5.

    The Jimi Hendrix Experience Supporting The Monkees

    In 1967, one of the coolest bands ever to have existed supported one of the cheesiest. The Jimi Hendrix Experience played seven shows with The Monkees as guests on the latter's North American tour.

  • The 10 Weirdest Support Acts Ever 5

    6.

    Showaddywaddy And Einstürzende Neubauten On The Same Bill 

    Here's a photo of Showaddywaddy relaxing at home in their native Leicester in the mid-'70s. Note the avant garde combination of lime-green socks and white brogues. Delightful. 

    In 1987, the rockabilly throwbacks appeared on the same bill as industrial noise experimentalists Einstürzende Neubauten. Contemporary accounts claim that The 'Wad blew away a crowd "comprised mostly of bemused Goths".

  • The 10 Weirdest Support Acts Ever 6

    7.

    Black Sabbath Supporting James Taylor

    Here's a picture of Black Sabbath in their formative years. A band who snort ants and bite the heads off the local wildfowl, just for a laugh. And to think they once played on the same bill as bedwetting singer/songwriter James Taylor. It's tough to pin down exactly when this happened, but Ozzy keeps mentioning it and we trust his memory implicitly.

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    8.

    Steely Dan support Cheech and Chong

    Steely Dan were the brainchild of Donald Fagen and Walter Becker. The band opened for comedy stoner duo Tommy Chong, far left, and Cheech Marin, right, at Westbury Music Fair in 1973. As Becker told the Hartford Courant in 1996, "We opened for Cheech and Chong - I opened for Cheech, and Don opened for Chong."

  • The 10 Weirdest Support Acts Ever 8

    9.

    U2 Supported by The Fall

    Another bizarre mismatch, here. For some reason, pop-rock titans U2 were supported by subversive counterculturalists The Fall in Rotterdam in 1987. Admittedly, The Fall were trying to "go mainstream" at the time, but try playing 1988's The Frenz Experiment next to Joshua Tree. Different worlds.

    (Bonus fact: things got weirder in Leeds, where U2 were supported by UB40 and Lou Reed at Elland Road. That's MOR reggae, followed by the grumpiest man in art rock history, followed by thousands of couples canoodling along to With Or Without You. Madness.)

     

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    10.

    Bonus Support Slots From Film And TV

    OK, we know that these are fictional gigs, but, to paraphrase David Brent: "remember, some of the support slots will be false."

    In The Office, Brent brags that his band Foregone Conclusion were supported by "a little-known band called Texas", while Spinal Tap find themselves billed below a puppet show on one particularly disastrous tour stop.