By Nikki Foreman, Contributing Writer
From the moment that the nine members present of 10-piece Suffers entered the stage and counted off, it was clear to the sold-out crowd that they were in for a fun time. Opening with their jazzy “Make Some Room,” the band got moving and in an instant, so did the entire room. Three and a half minutes into the song, the lyrics ask “Do you want a sandwich?” and Suffers concert veterans responded with a hearty “yes!” It was later explained by Kam Franklin, the woman delivering the band’s soulful, deep vocals, that she always wants to know how hungry her audience is before they really get going. As it turns out, this group was starving.
“There are two things,” Kam explained, that the band asks their audience to remember after the show. The first, an obvious one, their name. “The Suffers.” (Don’t forget it.) The second is a clear matter of pride for the group — their hometown of Houston, Texas. (Don’t forget that either.)
Coming off of their first full album release, a self-titled mixture of some songs from their EP and several new jams, the group presented their hunger just as much as their audience’s. Moving right into a fresh song from that album, “Dutch,” they reinforced the range that makes the band what it is and perfectly matches the relaxed style and range that the band consistently delivers.
Kam, dressed in a bold and stunning red dress, danced around her small area of the stage that could hardly fit the musicians and accompanying instruments, but she was not the only one moving. From the 20- and 30-somethings in the downstairs section of Rockwood Music hall to the sweetest looking man likely in his 60s sitting upstairs to the saxophone player onstage, no feet were planted on the ground. Their energy spilled off their small stage and bounced around consistently throughout their set.
Kam asked her audience if they remember those two major facts. Band name: The Suffers. Hometown: Houston, Texas.
Near the end of the group’s 55 minute show, Kam stepped forward and her cowboy boots stay still for the first and only time of the night. She shared the band’s story of shifting from a group of people who happen to play in a band while working full time jobs at NASA (yes, that NASA) or at investment banks, and encouraged the crowd to “Do What [they] Want”, which also happens to be the name of an unreleased song that they jumped right into.
As the sparkly Kam and her bandmates, all dressed in matching black Levi denim jackets, started to exit the stage after a wonderfully fun and light performance, the crowd began to chant “one more song!” which stopped the 9 individuals onstage, not seeming to expect such a reaction. After the only silent moment of the evening, searching for the “permission, man,” they were given the go-ahead, met for a quick discussion, delivered a buzzy finale to their set, and left a previously hungry crowd perfectly content.
And just one more time, for good measure – band name: The Suffers. Hometown: Houston, Texas.