Concert Review: The Suffers wow them in Maryland

The Suffers
BlackRock Center for the Arts
Germantown, MD
February 24th, 2017

Sustenance is key to survival. There’s nothing like a heaping plate full of your favorite food being served to you with all of the piping hot fixings, accompanied by a feeling of glee and glutinous satisfaction. If you bottle up the essence of contentment that this type of impending food coma can bring, then you’ll happily find yourself right in the midst of a vibe that The Suffers convey live in concert: an ambiance choc-filled with a healthy dose of horns, energy and satisfied concert attendees. The compact auditorium in BlackRock Center for the Arts is a tight, intimate and cozy space. Perhaps that’s what added to the flavor of the show. There was plenty of room for conversing with the band over music, good times and gastronomy. Yes, you read correctly.

The Suffers
BlackRock Center for the Arts
Germantown, MD
February 24th, 2017

Sustenance is key to survival. There’s nothing like a heaping plate full of your favorite food being served to you with all of the piping hot fixings, accompanied by a feeling of glee and glutinous satisfaction. If you bottle up the essence of contentment that this type of impending food coma can bring, then you’ll happily find yourself right in the midst of a vibe that The Suffers convey live in concert: an ambiance choc-filled with a healthy dose of horns, energy and satisfied concert attendees. The compact auditorium in BlackRock Center for the Arts is a tight, intimate and cozy space. Perhaps that’s what added to the flavor of the show. There was plenty of room for conversing with the band over music, good times and gastronomy. Yes, you read correctly.

With an afro groomed to the tee shadowed by an orange hue and her band members in step, Kam Franklin and The Suffers hit the stage ready and eager to deliver a soul-stirring performance. It’s no secret that their Gulf-Coast Soul sound is interspersed with doses of reggae and ska. Hearing “Good Day” and “Stay” live with Michael Razo and Jon Durbin providing brass support, is lively and sonically bounteous. But it doesn’t stop there; “Everything Here,” and a vigorous encore from the crowd, had The Suffers serving up “Peanuts” and fan favorite “Make Some Room.” The slow and syncopated sound of “Giver” gave Kam Franklin her time to shine on and show her astute and powerful chops. It was warm-hearted, yet melancholy and balanced off the evening just right.

Staying true to their soul roots throughout the show, The Suffers also dug a few layers in and covered a varying array of genres that are interwoven into their composition and melodies. Hip hop, soul and a touch of Texan sounds. Coming all the way through with a vocally charged cover of the Mary Jane Girls’ “All Night Long,” a rousing cover of Selena’s tejano hit “Balia Esta Cumbia” (they are from Houston after all) and what was close to an ode to Dr. Seuss’ Green Eggs And Ham to stay PG for the kids in the audience— an Outkast and Three 6 Mafia “SpottieOttieDopaliscious” mashup—The Suffers demonstrated their musical dexterity both vocally and rhythmically.

While the group’s album has a certain intensity and liveliness, listening to and watching them perform live is a whole other story. The storytelling in conjunction with their talent is what keeps the fluidity of the show on point. And just like a hearty bowl of gumbo that Kam says she likes to whip up now and then, their performance sticks to your ribs with that Gulf-Coast Soul sound. It’s that soul that just doesn’t quit, and if you give it a chance live and direct, The Suffers will surely satisfy your appetite.  

By Ann Marie Collymore

 

 
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