Highly Suspect are the three time Grammy-nominated alternative rock band from Cape Cod, Massachusetts. The three piece consists of Johnny Stevens on vocals and lead guitar, Ryan Meyer on Drums and Rich Meyer on bass, all of whom returned to the UK this week for a headlining tour of their second album ‘The Boy Who Died Wolf’.
The alt rock genre band performed at Manchester Academy 2 on the 6th of February, with a DJ on stage getting the crowd excited for the show, like a ringmaster introducing a circus. The three piece began with popular track ‘Bath Salts’ from their previous album ‘Mister Asylum’ in which the crowd sang along with every word. The band’s performance throughout was electrifying, which reflected on the crowd as they created three story piggy-backs and jumped around without a care in the world ,as lead singer Johnny requested.
However, the atmosphere sparked further during the Grammy-nominated track ‘Lydia’ which formed a mosh pit covering the majority of the crowd. As the crowd got ready to mosh to the heavier part of the song, the band teased them by pausing and thanking the staff at academy, including the security guards. This was a polite act which is usually dismissed by musicians, especially rock bands. The band then resumed the song allowing the crowd to electrify once again.
The set list included a personal song from bassist Rich Meyer and Drum solo from Ryan Meyer, which showed that the band’s talents are showcased equally. The crew which talents are usually kept behind the scenes, were also showcased on stage as they swapped instruments with the main band members a number of times, allowing Johnny, Ryan and Rich to interact with the audience.
The band’s encore consisted of the US chart topping hit ‘Little One’, emotionally raw ‘Serotonia’, ‘My Name is Human’ in which the bass shook the venue like an earthquake. They ended the set with the slower grunge jam ‘Wolf’, including a thrilling guitar solo from Johnny, whilst his fellow band member’s crowd surfed before saying their goodbyes and leaving the stage.
It’s hard to place Highly Suspect in a specific genre as each of their songs contains a new form of energy and sound, but one thing they all have in common is that they are completely raw and reveal the band’s feelings towards themes, such as politics and relationships. This show specifically began with low key moody blue lighting and Johnny with his face hidden by a bandanna, however like they have done on their albums, they revealed themselves more and more throughout the set, transitioning to pink high key lighting, Johnny showing his face and the rest of the band ending the show within the audience. The band provided a post-modern performance, with guitar riffs similar to hard rock band’s ‘Queens Of The Stone Age’, immaculate drum sequences that can be compared to likes of Royal Blood’s and 90’s grunge vocals near to Pearl Jam’s Eddie Vedder’s. Overall, the band’s performance was outstanding, with the audience’s atmosphere matching creating a steal of a show at only £15.
Songs to listen to at full volume:
My Name Is Human