Highly Suspect’s second full length album, “The Boy Who Died Wolf” is slated for release on November 18, 2016. The trio from Brooklyn, New York has been touring nonstop since brothers Rich and Ryan Meyer and best friend Johnny Stevens decided to stop playing covers and started writing their own music. Highly Suspect is able to weave several genres together into a sound of their own. By taking the blues, grunge, classic rock and a little hip hop and blending them with life stories, they have a way of leaving the listener wanting more. On Saturday the 5th of November 2016 they brought their sonic sound and high energy show to the Baltimore Soundstage.
Opening the night was local favorites The Henchmen. Known around Baltimore for influencing and promoting the music scene, it was apparent a large portion of the crowd was there to see them. Led by Kevin Hock on vocals, guitar and the piano, The Henchmen bring back the speakeasy feel of the 20’s and 30’s with an edge. Supported by Drew Pallace on guitar, Jim Matusky on bass, and Nick Heflin on drums, The Henchmen took the stage in classy suits and ties and laid down a jazz infused rock that had people in the mood to get there groove going. Whether it was taping their foot, bobbing their head or singing along, the crowd was drawn in to what The Henchmen were serving. 2017 looks to be a big year for The Henchmen with plans to get back into the studio to record their follow up EP. While you wait for that to happen, make sure to pick up their self-titled EP through all the major outlets, if you haven’t already, and follow them on Facebook for updates and future show announcements.
Slothrust have been the supporting act for a large portion of this tour. Fronted by Leah Wellbaum on vocals and guitar and backed by bassist Kyle Bann and drummer Will Gorin, Slothrust delivers a unique experience. Fusing jazz influences with a punk rock sound similar to Veruca Salt in the 90’s. With a no frills set, Slothrust took the stage to the cheers of the crowd. A strong following of fans that managed to get on the rail hung on every word that Leah sang. Head banging, singing along and completely lost to their surroundings; totally in the moment. No cell phones recording, no one taking photos– just a new generation of music lovers living in the here and now. The majority of songs on Slothrust’s twelve song set can be found on their latest album Everyone Else released in October 2016.
SLOTHRUST SETLIST: Baltimore Soundstage 11/5/2016
- Surf Goth
- Pseudo Culture
- Like a Child Hiding Behind Your Tombstone
- Magnets, Pt. 2
- Rotten Pumpkin
- Horseshoe Crab
It was evident that this show would be a total 360 compared to the last time Highly Suspect were in Baltimore back in March. The crowd has gone from 100 people to a sold out crowd of 1000 and they were hyped up. Highly Suspect took the stage a little after 9p.m. and wasted no time getting right into the music. Diving right into Bath Salts off of their debut album Mister Asylum, Johnny had the crowd eating out of the palm of his hand. Judging by the way he couldn’t stop smiling he knew he had them too and it did not stop him from showing off the blues/jazz influence during Lost and Bloodfeather. These two songs speak of love, loss and hurt and even a touch of betrayal. Regardless of the journeys they have written about, Johnny, Rich and Ryan are in a great place. How many people get to do what they enjoy and share the entire experience with their best friends? Johnny made sure to take a minute to humbly thank the crowd for coming out and encouraged everyone in attendance to be loud as hell and to make this the rowdiest show of the tour. If you have been a fan of Highly Suspect from the beginning then you have seen the acronym M.C.I.D somewhere. If not you may have seen the merch table and new T-shirt “What The F$@k is MCID”. Well it stands for MY CREW IS DOPE but as Johnny stated when addressing the crowd,” to Highly Suspect it means family.” Midway through the set the band played the first track off of the new album My Name is Human. It’s a slower song with a heavy bass riff and a smooth chorus that became an instant sing along with the fans as they waved their arms from side to side along with Johnny. The highlight of the night came when the band launched into Lydia. The first single released from Mister Asylum which generated a lot of buzz and earned them two Grammy nominations, one for best rock song of 2016 and one for best rock album of the year. For an encore Highly Suspect finished with the most recent track available through pre-order “Wolf” before inviting the crowd to join them on stage for the song Fire in Bedstuy. Within seconds the stage was filled with adoring fans jumping and singing along to the point you almost couldn’t see the band anymore. Probably not the safest thing to do but when these guys say they will throw a party a party is what you’re getting. Special thanks to Kevin Liles who was in attendance for the evening. Mr. Liles grew up in West Baltimore and has been an instrumental part in the careers of some of the music industry’s biggest names including HIGHLY SUSPECT.
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HIGHLY SUSPECT SETLIST: Baltimore Soundstage 11/5/2016
1. Bath Salts
5. Round & Round
7. Fuck Me Up
9. My Name Is Human
14. Fire in Bedstuy