Highly Suspect Condensed Photo

In today’s mainstream music landscape it’s hard to find a guitar-driven song, much less a guitar-driven song WITH a guitar solo. If you are one of those people who loves and seeks out that style, you might be surprised to find it in the music of Highly Suspect.

The Grammy-nominated band’s meshing of rock, hip hop and blues could easily come across as an unfocused collaboration between band members with different influences but that is far from the case. There is a definite “sound” to the band that is woven between every song they play.

Currently, on tour supporting their newest album “MCID”(My crew is dope), the band stopped in Austin to play the famed EMOs. The Austin crowd known for being live music aficionados with a heavy admiration for the Fender Strat and the right player behind it welcomed guitar solos from singer/guitarist Johnny Stevens. The textbook definition of frontman, Stevens had a command of the crowd that very few in music achieve. Like a drill instructor shouting out orders, Fans responded to his commands with robotic enthusiastic obedience. It was quite a sight to see as almost every fan from front to back jumped for joy at his entertainment style.

I’ve heard it said once that siblings make the best rhythm sections and band members (and brothers) Rich and Ryan Meyer are one example proving this may be true.

Matt Kofos, the latest addition to the Highly Suspect family wore many hats throughout the night, switching between playing guitar and synths to also helping with backup vocal duties. He makes a fine addition to the already powerful trio of talented musicians. With a solid 19 song set, the band toggled back and forth between tracks from earlier albums by starting with   “Bath Salts” and “Bloodfeather” from the album “Mister Asylum” then quickly diving into new material from “MCID”,  with the song “Snow White” and then back to the title track from Claudeland.

Though “MCID” was released in late 2019, fans sang along as though they had been studying these songs for years, so when the band played “These Days”, it was a packed-house sing-along. The band wasted no time moving into each song as they were clearly on a mission to deliver what the crowd came for…. and that is music.

Closing out the set with “Seratonia” and “Wolf”, it was refreshing to see a band that is recognized by mainstream listeners get on stage and actually play their instruments. It was truly a wonderful concert experience. Maybe Highly Suspect is that band to reel back the guitar solo which until now seemed to be reserved for other types of music. And for that, I want to say thank you!


Review by Hunter Levy

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