Brooklyn rockers, Highly Suspect, are in town, and they’ve come with the mood to party.
They’re here celebrating the release of their sophomore record, The Boy Who Died Wolf, with front man Johnny Stevens suggesting that although this is only their third show here, its already starting to feel like home. And for a band as talented as this trio, already 2x Grammy nominations to their name, with last year’s Mister Asylum earning them plaudits for Best Rock Album and Best Rock Single for ‘Lydia’, it certainly makes me want to reach for adoption papers, can we keep them?
The band swaggers on to the stage, opening with Bath Salts, as the fuzz from the guitar rips through the crowd and the electricity crackles, the already buzzing room comes alive. It’s clear this crowd doesn’t need winning over; they all know the words.
Highly Suspect have been described as a band out of their time but I prefer to label them ‘timeless’. Looking around the venue, I’ve never seen such a diverse crowd. Its seems there is something for everyone here tonight. They effortlessly hold the crowd in the palm of their hand hitting us with the combo of Lost, Bloodfeather and their US #1 My Name Is Human, our first taste of new material from The Boy Who Died Wolf.
Johnny Stevens if everything you want from a rock star. He oozes cool; there’s that twinkle in his eye, he has that star quality that lights up any room. The guy could tell dad jokes and we’d lap it up. But by the next song he’s taken a backstep and we are treated to bassist Rich Meyer singing Alligator Song, a number from the earlier days of the band. Rich embodies one of my favourite things about this band. From the moment they came out on stage he hasn’t stopped smiling and doesn’t the whole night; somehow I’d be convinced he even smiles when sleeping. He’s having a blast entertaining us and it’s a genuine pleasure to share this room with someone so in love with their craft.
The words “Sorry about our President” announce Stevens return to front man duties as the boys get angry on Viper Strike. Spoken-word-barbs followed by an all-out assault “we’re all equal except for you!” There’s no sugar coating to make this easy to swallow; it is straight talking for those that need it.
The song I’ve waiting for all night comes soon after; the gorgeous Serotonia. And it doesn’t disappoint (stop reading and go download this track right away if you don’t own it already!) Words don’t do this song justice; let it wash over you. Live it was really something special. Highly Suspect are a band comfortable being themselves, and they meld genres at their discretion. A band without fear to push boundaries and preconceptions should be something to cherish in a time of safe music and Simon Cowell’s factory of cookie cutter wannabes.
During breakthrough hit Lydia the band builds to the bridge and pauses…the crowd waits. Drinks are shared between members, like a victory lap mid-song. I’m reminded of Frank-N-Furter in Rocky Horror. The crowd shivers with antici….pation.
The band rounds out the night with Stunning Wolf and the feel good song Claudville. Having the opportunity to see exactly what drummer Ryan Meyer is capable of through his drum solo, left me speechless; I turned to the girl next to me and motioned that my head was just blown away and she gave a knowing nod of ‘yes I know’. If Rich encapsulates the bands inherent joy. Ryan is the technicality. Make no mistake, every member of this band knows their instrument inside out and they march to the rhythm of Ryan’s drum.
Highly Suspect has delivered tonight. Big time. A set full of confidence and self belief; they have rocked us all. If your have a ticket for the sold out show in Manchester on the 29th November, take your dancing shoes! You’re going to have a blast.
If you haven’t seen this band live yet you’re in luck as they have recently announced a spring tour of the UK. I’ve already booked my tickets I encourage you to do the same don’t miss them.
4th March Glascow- St Lukes
6th March Birmingham- Institute 3
7th March Manchester- Sound Control
9th March London- KOKO
New Album ‘The Boy Who Died Wolf’ is out now on Spotify, Apple music and Itunes Store.