With its conscious lyricism and edgy, reggae-based sound, Michael Franti & Spearhead seem an odd — but certainly interesting — opening act for someone as much a part of the pop mainstream as John Mayer.
But Franti says it works.
“I think it’s a great night of music,” says Franti, 43, an Oakland, Calif., native who formed Spearhead in 1994 after tenures with the punk band the Beatnigs and the rap fusion group Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy. “My band is kinda funky and we have really fun songs — happy, joyful songs — but we also have some songs that have a more thoughtful message to them.
“And John’s music is really great songwriting, and he’s a fantastic player and his guitar just fills up an arena. We get along really well, so it’s a good fit, really.”
It does help that Spearhead had its first bona fide hit, “Say Hey (I Love You),” in 2009 from its latest album, “All Rebel Rockers.”
“We had our first song in the Top 40, and we’ve never had a song in the top 40,000 before,” acknowledges Franti, who’s also putting the finishing touches on Spearhead’s next album. “It’s really been a remarkable year. It’s kind of pushed the high-speed button on what we do in terms of more people coming to the shows, more people being at the Web site, more people knowing who we are and ... going out and discovering our music.
“It’s been a really cool thing to be 20-some years into a music career and be the new kid on the block.”
Michael Franti & Spearhead perform with John Mayer at 8 p.m. Friday (Feb. 12) at the Palace, Lapeer Road at I-75, Auburn Hills. Tickets are $36, $51 and $76. Call 248-377-0100 or visit www.palacenet.com.
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