A good concert is about more than just the headlining act—the opening band is what sets the tone for the entire show. This year’s Rollin’ on the River opening acts showcase the talent and diversity of Reno’s music scene.

July 6: Keyser Soze

Keyser Soze’s chill but intricate ska music is sprinkled with elements of jazz and soul, bringing a new edge to the genre. The band, formed in Reno by Rodney Teague and Jammal Tarkington, features seven musicians—Tarkington on vocals and saxophone, Teague on vocals and trombone, Mike Mayhal on bass, John Hall on drums, Ryan Hall on guitar, Kevin Lum on keys and Ruben Garcia on trumpet. The ensemble released their first album in 1999 and most recently came out with “But Not For You” in 2011. The title song is a catchy, jazzy tune—perfect for a summer soundtrack to listen to on your front porch, around the bonfire, or, heck, to dance to with your friends at Wingfield Park. Keyser Soze has played alongside acts like The Wailers, Steel Pulse and Michael Franti. After touring the west coast this spring, the band will spend the summer playing locally before hitting the road again in August to play in southern California.

Catch their performance on July 6, 5:30 p.m. at Wingfield Park. Visit www.keysersoze.com for music samples and information on upcoming shows.

Main act: Big Sandy and His Fly Rite Boys

July 13: Rick Metz and First take

Although Rick Metz was born in Brooklyn, N. Y., and raised in New Mexico, he’s found his calling performing throughout the West. Now stationed in Nevada, he’s played at a multitude of local venues, including the Carson City Jazz Festival and Jazz: A Louisiana Kitchen in Sparks. Although Metz considers himself “first and foremost a saxophonist,” he experiments with many instruments on stage. Metz has collaborated with artists and songwriters such as Bo Diddley, Otis Day & the Knights, Sha Na Na and Harvey Mandel.

Watch Rick Metz and First Take—including Metz, Jimmy Vermilion on keys, bass and vocals, and Bill Heise on drums—perform on July 13, 5:30 p.m. at Wingfield Park. Visit www.rickmetz.com for more info—and to learn about Metz’s favorite things like cigars, bands and saxophones. Oh, and he’s also a Burner, and part of the U.S.S. Nevada Burning Man camp.

Main act: The Gospel Hummingbirds

July 20: lovepop!

After just releasing their new CD, the three-piece ensemble LovePop! is on a summer high. LovePop!, which consists of bassist/vocalist Clayton Stanfield, percussionist Kent Miura and vocalist/guitarist Monique Jade, is what the band members refer to as a “reincarnation” of their older project formerly known as All About Me. Each member has played in other Reno-based music projects.

Living up to its name, the band plays pop and acoustic music aimed toward an adult crowds. In a recent Reno News & Review article, Megan Berner writes, “LovePop!’s sound is reminiscent of ’90s female pop artists like Michelle Branch and Vanessa Carlton. While many of the band’s songs seemingly would fit well on the soundtrack of a moody teen drama, not all of what LovePop! has to offer is bubblegum pop.”

LovePop! Will perform on July 20, 5:30 p.m. at Wingfield Park before Igor and Red Elvises. Check out www.love-pop.com to learn more about the band.

Main act: Igor and Red Elvises

July 27: The Mark Sexton Band

Throughout the past couple years, The Mark Sexton Band has become a household name for Renoites, having performed at many local venues and festivals. You’ve probably seen their name in this paper quite a few times, too. Comprised of members Mark Sexton on vocals, guitar and keys, Alex Korostinsky on bass, and Dan Weiss on drums, the band achieves a unique sound of reggae, funk and soul. Most recently, the band released album Listen Out in 2010, featuring sophisticated, laid back tracks like “Don’t Tell Me” and “Hold On.”

The Mark Sexton Band is on a summer-long tour throughout the west coast, making a brief stop in Reno in mid-July before playing back-to-back shows in California for two weeks. But don’t worry, they’ll be back just in time to help conclude the Rollin’ on the River music series for 2012. Visit www.marksextonband.com for more.

Main act: Truth and Salvage Co.

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