It was a long wait on Friday night for the half-to-capacity crowd at the Independent. The band they were waiting for, Highly Suspect — a Brooklyn-based band — finally went on past their set time and attempted to win everyone over by announcing that they were looking to move to the West Coast. “You all know we’re from the East Coast, yeah?” Said the lead singer, Johnny Stevens. “Well, we’re looking to move out here.”
And although the crowd was quiet at first, it didn’t take long for them to warm up to the handsome power trio. A couple of winks and smiles along with a string of hits eventually had the audience swooning at their every move. I suppose that when you have the looks, songs, and talent you can also get away with the punk rock “F*** You” attitude that goes along with it.
The reason Highly Suspect may have lagged to step onto the San Francisco stage is because the two time Grammy nominated act has been on the road tirelessly as a headliner and also opening for acts like Catfish And The Bottlemen and The Struts while playing various festivals around the globe including Lollapalooza, Bonnaroo, the RIDE Festival as well as Reading/Leeds in the UK.
They’ll be releasing their second LP in November entitled “The Boy Who Died Wolf” and in an exclusive interview with Entertainment Weekly band frontman, Johnny Stevens said, “I was the boy, and was a wolf,” he explains referencing a hard upbringing in Cape Cod and the last eight years as a band desperate for a break in Brooklyn. “Everything was a fight and a struggle. I killed that part of me, and now the man is left.”
Last night’s performance felt like a struggle, to shake the Bay Area to the burgeoning rock music scene that’s happening in the rest of the country. And although the welcoming from the hipster crowd was tepid at first, they were left salivating for an encore at the end of the night. The band did not offer, and for good reason. I suppose they’ll be saving that for the arena tour the next time they come to town.
Fuck Me Up
Round & Round
My Name Is Human
Fire in Bedstuy