Cape Cod-native and now New York made and Los Angeles-based rock band Highly Suspect, whose song “16” has reached #1 Rock song twice, blessed St. Louis with an amazing show Tuesday night at the hottest music venue in town, The Pageant, hosted by 105.7 The Point. For the first leg of their MCID tour, which stands for “My Crew Is Dope,” their friends Slothrust joined them for an unforgettable string of performances. Any audience member could truly feel the love in the air and on stage between every band member and every attendee. It must be a great feeling for Highly Suspect to know their whole crew really is dope.
Although Leah from Slothrust is from Massachusetts, the band was formed in New York and are currently based in LA. Slothrust is labelled an alternative rock band, but their music is truly genre-bending, with sprinkles of indie, punk, folk and jazz. If you’re in need of a new musical vibe, make sure to check out Slothrust’s fourth LP The Pact, because there’s nothing else like it on the market right now. Their unique flavor translated well on stage at The Pageant and the crowd took to them immediately.
Vocalist/guitarist Leah Wellbaum rocks a chic punk look with ripped/cuffed 90’s mom jeans, an adorable bob haircut with a long blond lock framing her face, classic Vans sk8-highs, and a black long-sleeve t-shirt expressing “HARD PASS.” Her sweet, quiet voice lures the audience in, then she’ll blow you away as she shreds her guitar, jamming away with her pals Kyle Bann on bass and Will Gorin on drums.
Slothrust puts on a high-energy, very captivating performance. They mixed things up for us, playing some of their classics, new songs from The Pact, and even a cover or two. “Peach” was a treat for the crowd, and Leah popped and locked it like nobody’s business. For their soulful track “On My Mind,” the bassist hopped over to the keys and Leah danced around the stage all wavy with just her mic. Kyle rocked a fire bass solo during “Planetarium.” Slothrust even played a cover of Marci Playground’s “Sex and Candy,” which they slowed down during the chorus and sped up super fast for the chorus, keeping us on our toes! My favorite track of the night was their super heartfelt “Walk Away.”
Highly Suspect expressed immense amounts of gratitude for having Slothrust on tour with them and for being received so well in St. Louis. Lead singer Johnny Stevens congratulated the city on our NHL win this year, leading the crowd in a “Let’s Go Blues!” tangent. Johnny is a super quirky, passionate, creative soul with such a multi-talented crew. They spent their entire two-hour set trading off instruments, proving their genre diversity by implementing verses of rap, taking extended moments just to jam out in the middle of songs, having fun with some ad lib about taking selfies and drinking White Claws, and reminding everyone that their song “16” reaching #1 Rock song blows their mind because they’re “not rock.” I can definitely respect an artist not wanting to be boxed into a specific label, and I hope they keep on being authentic to themselves and their creative expression.
The passion for what they do is incredibly evident in their music, and even more so in their live performance. The whole band got the flu while overseas in Europe, yet they didn’t let it show for one second while on stage. They truly gave the crowd their best, as I’m sure they’ll continue to do so for the rest of their tour. Between hugs, booty bumps, and cigarette passes mid-song, you could feel the love and brotherhood amongst this group of musicians and best friends. I haven’t seen a more entertaining rock band than Highly Suspect. They even did a little “rap battle,” if you will, but with instruments, leading into their performance of “My Name Is Human.” They went back and forth taking turns playing a little bit here and there, and it kind of sounded like they were talking and shooting the shit just with their instruments. It was something you had to be there for, so make sure to catch them on a future tour date if you’re able to! Highly Suspect will have you laughing and dancing all night.