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avatar for Highly Suspect

Highly Suspect

You may have been to that party—the one where a guy plastered in ink showed up on a motorcycle with a guitar slung around his back. You probably either rolled your eyes and raised your fists, or asked, “Who is that?”. When it comes to Brooklyn rock trio Highly Suspect, all three members--Johnny Stevens, guitars and lead vocals and twins, Rich, bassist and Ryan Meyer, drums--are that guy. The trio have played 800 shows in six years, having supported bands like My Morning Jacket and Grizzly Bear, and, as the day's opener no less, have drawn the biggest audience to-date to the Lollapalooza BMI Stage. They've also raged in all of your basements.

The boys moved in together after high school in 2006 and would share a few years, a few fist fights and more than a few drug and alcohol fueled parties, before they ever even knew that they had started a band. "Playing music together was just something we did when we were fucked up, or if there were girls over, or if it was raining out. Its cold in the Northeast," says Johnny. But it wouldn't take long for them to realize that they had accidentally created the very foundation of what would eventually become the band. Once they noticed just how many people could identify with the energy they produced and the lyrics they were sharing, there was no other option than to take it on the road.

The second these guys get on stage, you discover that their burnt out cigarettes, leather jackets, and well traveled boots aren't a front. You'll hear their raspy vocals, amped-up guitar chords and ambitious rhythms blending so uniquely with cocaine-covered lyrics telling you the true story of three guys who know what it means to go hungry. Their forthcoming debut album is set to release in the summer of 2015 and was produced by Joel Hamilton, who has worked with such artists as The Black Keys, Tom Waits, and Elvis Costello. On it, you’ll find the songs that you’re always hoping to hear (but never actually do) when you push your favorite alt radio station preset button.

Just as these twenty-something guys--who were invited back to play SXSW for their second year in a row this spring--so happen to dabble in graffiti, sex, and rock & roll, so do their songs happen to feel like a page out of your own wildest life moments. Of the LP’s first single, “Lydia,” Johnny shares that the song is about “One of the three true loves I have had in my life. I met her when we moved into our Brooklyn apartment. It was literally slow-motion love at first sight...I loved her with my whole heart. We went through so much together, she moved in with me. I still have Pam, the kitty i bought her for her birthday. I still love her so much. I still wish that hadn’t ended...every time I think about her I get a lump in my throat. I hope the best for her and always will. She is the one that got away.” This, and each of the other tracks work together to remind you that outlaws always have, and always will write the realest of the real. Exposing their souls on the deepest of levels, these are the songs that most bands are afraid to write.

My Bands Sessions

Wednesday, March 18

10:00pm CDT

Highly Suspect The Trophy ClubHighly Suspect

Friday, March 20

4:45pm CDT

Saturday, March 21

9:00pm CDT