Richmond Fontaine opened up for John Doe and the Sadies last Friday night at Hawkins Amphitheater on Bartley Ranch. I have long admired the strong story based songs of singer Willy Vlautin. He weaves vast narratives rich in the history of the West, Nevada, and Reno. What a treat it was to see RF for the first time in Willy’s hometown where a number of the stories in his lyrics are set. He has loads of adoring fans in the West as evidenced by the two fellas sitting next to us who drove seven hours from SLC that day just to see RF. A hometown crowd, a cool summer evening, and a lovely outdoor show backed by a chorus of crickets made for a fantastic opening set. Hawkins was the perfect setting for this show, an intimate outdoor venue that has really amazing sound clarity. It didn’t hurt that the band seemed completely stoked to be sharing the stage with John Doe and the Sadies. RF played for about an hour before they relinquished the stage to the headliners. It was too brief an introduction to live Richmond Fontaine, but very compelling. I hope to see more of them live in the not too distant future.