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Band with three South Forsyth High School grads opening for Bon Jovi on Friday
The Howling Tongues, of which three of the members are from Forsyth County, will be the opening act for Bon Jovi at Phillips Arena tonight. (Photo for the Forsyth County News)

Three musicians from Forsyth County will serve as the opening act on Friday for one of the world’s most popular rock bands.

On Friday night, The Howling Tongues, a five-piece band from Atlanta, will be the opening for Bon Jovi at Phillips Arena. Three of the band's members – bassist Brandon Witcher, guitar player Nick Magliochetti and drummer Tylor James – are 2008 graduates of South Forsyth High School.

“It’s pretty unbelievable,” Witcher said. “It’s going to be the first arena show for any of us, so there’s a lot of jitters. [We] probably won’t sleep at all tonight.”

The Howling Tongues have released four albums since 2012, including Boo Hiss, released in 2016. The band lists the likes of Led Zeppelin, Big Star and The Who as influences. 

After rehearsing Thursday morning, Witcher said the band was excited for the opportunity.

“It’s been going really good,” he said. “[We’re] trying to figure out what songs to play, what songs will work for the show. We only have about a 20-minute set, the amount of time we’re allotted, so just practicing songs and just making sure that they fall within that 20-minute mark.”

The band earned the opportunity to play the show after being chosen by voters in an online contest. Witcher said his dad let him know about the competition, and the band got the word out for fans to vote for them.

“We submitted a live video of us playing at the Capitol Theatre in Macon,” Witcher said. “Once we did win … I think it took about two weeks for them to actually notify us that we won, then for another week and a half we couldn’t say anything.”

Witcher said the largest crowd the band has played in front of was about 6,000 people in Louisville. Per Phillips Arena’s website, up to 17,700 seats can be available for a concert.

“We’ve played some big shows, but something like this for a band is just unheard of,” he said. “To play the biggest venue in Atlanta, we’re an independent band, so to do that is kind of like, ‘Where do we go from here,’ but no really, we’re excited.”

The show will happen just days after Bon Jovi’s induction into the Rock and roll Hall of Fame.

“Bon Jovi really is extending an amazing thing to bands, having local bands open, that’s a really cool thing,” Witcher said. “They might play three shows a week, and they’re dealing with different bands, whereas a normal touring act could have the same opener they’ve had for months and did every show the same.”

Witcher said the band was aware a big opportunity was before them.

“We’re stoked,” he said. “This is the biggest thing we’ve ever been given, and we’re going to take it and run with it as far as we can.”

Tickets for the show were still available at as of press time.