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Highly Suspect Lures in Fans into a Fantastic Show at Chicago’s Own Bottom Lounge on Record Release Day…. Review by: Coren E. McLeod Photos by: Coren E. McLeod

Highly Suspect Lures in Fans into a Fantastic Show at Chicago’s Own Bottom Lounge on Record Release Day….
Review by:  Coren E. McLeod
Photos by:  Coren E. McLeod

Highly Suspect Promo Picture

        Chicago is what I call my home.  A fucking lovely city with so much to do with so little time.  I once had a fear of the Windy City not knowing what was around each corner or what events may arise.  But, now I want to be in Chicago.  I want to live the fast pace lifestyle while pursuing my ultimate goal of being known in the music industry as a chick to be reckoned with. 

        On Friday November 18th, 2016, to much surprise, I was able to witness my current favorite band up close and somewhat personal with other great people.  Highly Suspect was on tour to promote their highly anticipated album The Boy Who Died Wolf.  Before I even got approval to attend and photograph the show, I was honored to be able to review the album in its entirety.  And let me just say the boys from Cape Cod/Brooklyn delivered on this second album. 

Highly Suspect
There were a few things I was told when I was preparing myself for yet another adventure to the city:  1) Bottom Lounge has the best sound for bands to play at their venue.  2)  It is a small place.  Be prepared to stand shoulder to shoulder with people. And 3) There will be no photo pit whatsoever.  My chances of getting a great photo kind of worried me.  However, the proof is in the pudding…. 

This night was for sure going to be great.  Yes, if you know me, you know my heartfelt love for this wonderful band.  What gets to me about Highly Suspect is their “wise beyond their years” lyrics.  I heard the song “Lydia” from their album “Mister Asylum” and I thought it would be a much older group of men.  I was wrong especially when seeing the lead singer Johnny for the 1st time.  Yes.  That boy is so beautiful.  Yet, when he sings, the passion and the amount of love that comes through is so apparent I become one with the music myself.

Highly Suspect

When one finds a perfect pairing like salt and pepper, a person makes sure it will blend together like no other.  The opening band, Slothrust, was the impeccable combination to be on tour with Highly Suspect.  Slothrust came out on stage in a timid fashion yet once each band member grabbed their instruments, the audience felt a sense of power.  The lead singer, Leah Wellbaum, captivated me with her simple yet angelic beauty while she looked at the audience with her enduring eyes.
The bass player, Kyle Bann, had a cute, quirky persona about him and drummer Will Gorin seemed totally on point when slaying away on his drums.  When the band broke out into their 1st single, “Like A Child Hiding Behind Your Tombstone,” from their album, “Everyone Else (2016),” the entire audience was on par singing along to every lyric.  Leah was so impressed with that she personally thanked everyone for knowing the words to that brilliant song.

After the delightful set from Slothrust, the main event was about to arrive.  The feels among the loyal fans was so obvious.  Between the women wooing to get a glimpse of Highly Suspect to the men drinking craft beer showing their incredible taste for the industry; the enthusiasm was very prohibitive.   

I was thinking:  This is my time.  I saw Highly Suspect briefly at this summer’s Riot Fest.  Now, I get to absorb every ounce of this astounding band live and in person.  I was truly ready for one hell of a night.  As I was standing there amongst other journalist in a corner that literally was off to the right of the stage, I heard a familiar song play, “Right Now,” by Van Halen.  It truly got the crowd screaming and into the moment for sure.  And once Sammy Hager hit the famous line, “Right Now.  It’s all tomorrow…”  Highly Suspect was on stage.

Highly Suspect

Once my eyes glazed over to what was in front of me, Johnny, Rich and Ryan all gave a boyish grin and broke out into their song “Bath Salts.”  I was so in aww I almost forgot that I was there to take photos of these chaps.  And take it from me, it was going to be a challenge.  I had a few ladies in front of me holding two signs together with #MCID.  (For all the cool kids out there, Highly Suspect uses that for “My Crew is Dope.)  And on my right were a bunch of dudes drinking as if the world was going to end.  I just had to collect myself and be the professional I was to do my job.  Yet, I still wanted to enjoy myself.

What I really enjoyed about the set from Highly Suspect was watching Johnny.  He is humble, handsome and a great front man.  He reminds me of a spirited Jimi Hendrix with the epic moves from his body.  Even though there were parts of him that showed a shy boy present, his confidence shined especially when he would look over to his girlfriend watching him from the side of the stage. 

Of course, I loved hearing some favorites like “Lydia,” “F—K Me Up,” and of course “Bloodfeather.”  Yet, this night was special.  Why you ask?  Johnny was playing the piano on stage for the 1st time on tour with his girlfriend Madison on stage to the new song, “Chicago.”  How perfect is that?  It is a moment in time no one could not say that it was precious.  Just seeing Johnny sing to Madison melted so many hearts.  (Yes, including mine.  Whatever.  LOL…)  After the beautiful solo to his “love of his life,” Johnny went over and kissed her as if no one else was in the room. 

Other favorites from the new album that were performed that night which I recommend you getting was “Vapor Strike,” (a political satire that will make you think) “Serontonia,” and the final song of the evening “Wolf.”  It seemed like the hour and 10 min set could have been just the right amount of time for everyone to get their fix of Highly Suspect.  One could tell the guys were very much ready to party since their new album just got released that day.  And they have every right to do so.  The Boy Who Died Wolf is already generating buzz and it is #1 on Billboard’s Current Alternative Album.  Oh yeah....  Their lastest single is "My Name is Human..."  Take a listen:

Thanks again to Slothrust and Highly Suspect for the extraordinary show at Bottom Lounge.  It was genuinely one of my favorite concerts and I know I feel like I am a part of that crew…  J  #JustSaying  #MCID


- More at UnRatedMagazine.com

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