A Boy Named Banjo isn’t necessarily a household name… yet. But the Americana-roots band’s brand, showcased flawlessly on Tuesday evening at The Broadberry in Richmond, VA, is sure to make waves. The group delivered a vibrant opening act, both hyping the crowd up for the next performers and building their own image in the eyes of fans. How can you crush the art-of-the-opening-act too? Take a tip or two from these guys!
Sharing content on a variety of social platforms effectively built excitement for the Americana-roots band. The group posted an authentically-playful shot on Instagram and Twitter (pictured below) that featured both a piece of Richmond and a note about their enthusiasm for the city, while also connecting with both The Broadberry and The Ghost of Paul Revere.
On Facebook, the band shared video footage of their rehearsal at The Broadberry, promising fans the chance to hear new music during the performance.
The group opened for The Ghost of Paul Revere, contemporary-folk vets with national experience performing on stages like CONAN. With about half the Facebook fans of The Ghost of Paul Revere and few new music releases in recent years, it would have been easy for A Boy Named Banjo to loom in the shadows of the well-seasoned group on their international spring tour. Instead, A Boy Named Banjo made its mark on Richmond.
Undoubtedly, the group drew their own crowd to The Broadberry. Fans flooded the front of the stage, and, within the band’s first few songs, the crowd extended all the way to the back bar and merchandise table. Supporters sang every word to classics and swayed in time to new material.
The band set the tone for a Ghost of Paul Revere, remaining in-tune with their likable, playful character. Near the midpoint of their set, the band stated, “Y’all better stick around for The Ghost of Paul Revere, they’re gonna blow your mind... but for now you’re stuck with us.” Their enthusiasm for The Ghost of Paul Revere was reciprocated with cheers from the crowd.
“We’re A Boy Named Banjo and we’re from Nashville Tennessee” — from their opening words, the band set the tone for their image. Smiles and comradery among the band members grounded them in an authentic boyish, down-home, relaxed vibe, highlighted by infectious, humble grins after every round of applause. Their playful tone was well paired with un-styled hair, jeans and t-shirts... no smoke and mirrors, just a few lights and deeply moving melodies. Barton Davies (vocals, banjo, guitar) greeted wild applause and hollers from fans with a wide grin and a slightly sheepish, understated “thanks y’all.” Nothing about the band’s presence struck me as disingenuous or constructed. Every part of the performance effortlessly fit into a well-established and authentic brand.
A Boy Named Banjo’s roots play a key role in their persona. After the show, I caught up with William Reames (vocals, guitar, harmonica) and asked how critical a role the band’s roots played in their image. “We all grew up in Nashville, and we're just music lovers,” Reames stated, crediting Nashville with exposing the band to a vibrant music scene in their formative years. The band’s performance left fans with a spread-my-wings-but-won’t-forget-my-roots sentimentality that comes from a genuine love of and gratitude for their roots.
Playful banter with the crowd supported this image. When the band acknowledged their lack of new music as of late, one fan cried out “No kidding!” in good nature. Davies greeted the sassy remark with a light hearted chuckle and asked the crowd if they’d like to hear some new stuff.
Later in the show, when a fan near the front row shouted out a hockey game scoring update, “Preds are up 3-0!” Reaves raised his eyebrows and pointed back an acknowledging “thank-you” to the fan.
Staying true to the group’s humble, positive character, Davies began their final song with a word of gratitude. “Thank y’all for being such an attentive crowd... this is awesome, we don’t get this too too often.” Fans swooned and cheered enthusiastically.
CALL TO ACTION: MERCHANDISE
After the group’s last song, Davies called out to the crowd, “Come say hey to us at our merch table— we’d love to meet y’all.” A line of fans, eager for pictures and the chance to chat, crowded around the table moments after A Boy Named Banjo exited the stage. All smiles and very approachable, band members themselves conducted sales at the merchandise table, utilizing the point of contact to build relationships with fans in person, and inviting them to connect on social media. Relatively low-priced merchandise encouraged fans to purchase an item or two on their way out, while having the chance to talk to band members directly.
A Boy Named Banjo leveraged points of contact before, during and after their show to showcase their likeable and down to earth personality, and to further connect with fans. These guys might call themselves Boys, but they handle branding, marketing, and fan interaction like seasoned pros.
Follow these guys for more info @boynamednajo on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.