We try to cover as many bands coming to town as possible, but often the spotlight falls on the headliner, the name at the top of the bill. However, anyone who has spent much time going to concerts realizes that the opening acts often turns out being the revelation of the night, an artist you might not have heard before that immediately becomes a new favorite. In that spirit, here's the first edition of a new series called "Meet the Opener", profiling an opening act by asking them five questions. First up, Sophie Hunger, a Swiss singer-songwriter opening for Tinariwen tonight at the Rialto.
The Range: As someone with a few albums out in Europe and the sort of fame that would lead to playing at a TED talk, Glastonbury and the like, what is the experience of essentially starting over with American audiences like?
Sophie Hunger: It's as if we had multiple lives. Here nobody knows us, people haven't even expected to hear us. There sitting in their chairs waiting for Tinariwen to get on stage and then all of a sudden there are these 3 Europeans tip toeing on stage. I love that moment. It's as if you had a blank page, there's nothing written on it yet, it's completely empty, it is the ultimate beginning.
The Range: Is there an artist you have looked to as an inspiration, whose music or career path is something you'd like to emulate?
Sophie Hunger: Charlie Chaplin, definitely. And when it comes to music, probably Wilco or someone like Marc Ribot.
The Range: You said in a Guardian profile earlier this year that you "want to make an album where I'm able to transfer all the power we deliver on stage onto a record". For people in Tucson who have only heard your recorded product, what differences should they expect from your live show?
Sophie Hunger: Well I don't think I can put that into words, maybe you can if you come to the show?
The Range: What song of yours would you suggest as the best introduction to your music to someone unfamiliar?
Sophie Hunger: "House of Gods":
The Range: Touring with Tinariwen seems like an interesting experience, both in the uniqueness of the music they play and their back story. What has the experience been like so far?
Sophie Hunger: We are still simply baffled. It's only been two shows now and we can't yet get out of wonderment. We're standing in the curtains, squinting. Their world is slowly taking us in, they already seem to change us. I think once this tour is over, we will miss them for the rest of our lives.
Sophie Hunger's self-titled debut album in America is available now. She opens for Tinariwen tonight at the Rialto Theatre.