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Ludacris chooses a homegrown opener in Chingy

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Screw opening acts.

That's how most people feel, anyway. You didn't come to see five guys who just finished practicing in Mom's basement, you came to see Journey! Or Jimmy Buffett! Or whoever's name is on the ticket stub. After all, there are only three kinds of opening acts: the inexplicable, that is, some act that sounds nothing like the group it's opening for. Witness Justin Timberlake opening for the Stones in Toronto last year. These bands usually play against a backdrop of boos and people chanting Jimmy Buffet's (or whoever's) name. This type of opening act can usually be explained by a shared record label or publicist.

Another type of opener is the weak sister: a band that sounds just like the headliner, only worse. After all, if they were better, they'd be headlining, right? This type of opener is usually tolerated, with much watch-checking. This is how I felt when I caught Marilyn Manson opening for Nine Inch Nails back in '94 (not to date myself). Even with a big, black strap-on, Brian Warner was no match for Trent Reznor.

The third type is the great/late opening band. This is the band that comes out of nowhere and blows the headliners out of the water. It's called a great/late band because it only happens when you decide to show up late and miss the opener because opening bands suck. You'll lie about this later on, when you tell people you saw Public Enemy open for the Beastie Boys way back in '86.

This, of course, is all conventional wisdom, and conventional wisdom is made to be proven wrong, which is certainly the case with Chingy opening for Ludacris Thursday night at the Pageant. They may share a record label, but the pairing makes perfect sense. You're sure not going to show up late and miss Chingy. And you can't call the Ching-a-ling a weak sister, at least not here in the Lou. Well, you could, but I don't have your back. I like my teeth.

If not the best MC working in hip-hop today, Luda is definitely the most fun, with deceptively simple lyrics masking a witty sophistication. Sure, you could figure out that "reckless" and "necklace" rhyme, but would it lead you to write the lines: "My diamonds is reckless/Feels like a midget is hanging from my necklace"?

Luda is the current king of guest appearances, appearing on more remixes and singles than just about any other artist working (though Lil Jon gets around quite a bit). One of those songs Luda lends his wit to, as if you didn't know, was Chingy's smash hit "Holidae Inn." So you can expect to hear that Thursday night, and even though it'll suffer slightly from the absence of Snoop, it'll be a party and a half. Not to mention the mini-parties brought by the extra-special opening openers David Banner and Knocturnal (classify those two as you will).

Clamor Magazine isn't local -- it's based out of Toledo. And they don't sound like party monsters, at least based on their mission statement, which in part reads, "Clamor exists to fill the voids left by mainstream media. We recognize and celebrate the fact that each of us can and should participate in media, politics and culture." Whoo-hoo! Nothing spells "party" like a magazine with a "Sex and Gender" editor.

But Clamor is hosting one (make that two) monsters of a local show Saturday night. They're hosting local parties all over the country, all on the same night, to support local art scenes (and, of course, the magazine itself). In St. Louis, Clamor is holding one show that Saturday at Lemmons, with local legends like the Hellfire Club, Bad Folk, the Whole Sick Crew and the Highway Matrons; and another show for the all-ages crowd at the Lemp Neighborhood Arts Center, featuring local boys Sine Nomine among other acts.

How did a bunch of Ohioans figure out such choice acts? Credit Lemmons' Maggie St. Germain and KDHX DJ Tim Rakel, who helped organize the two shows (and arrange a portion of the proceeds to go to the station). No matter what age your ID says, you've got a chance to check out some quality local acts, so don't miss out.

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