Haling from Houston Texas, The Suffers is a band that is not easily categorized. This 10-piece ensemble has a touch of everything; blues, soul, reggae, hip-hop, ska and rock. They represent a collaboration of talented musicians that each bring a vital component to The Suffers sound. In fact that sound would not exist if you extracted even one piece of the whole puzzle.
Listening to their music through a set of headphones is great, but to actually hear this band you absolutely need to see them live. You have to see the horns blaring, you have to feel the congas in your bones, the keys tingling your toes and the guitar playing at your heart strings. There is an insane amount of synergy and energy between every member of The Suffers. Ten people on stage can look and sound crowded, but this is not the case with The Suffers. They play a tight, succinct and full sound that is precise and yet free flowing. There’s hardly a break between songs making you feel like you’re a guest at a long jam session. Singer and front woman, Kam Franklin, is a force to be reckoned with. She owns the stage with such power you won’t be able to peel your eyes from her. She has a massive voice like all the soul singers who surely influenced her and the grace of the great jazz singers who blazed a path before her.
This band plays as a family and that is exactly how they explained themselves at a recent show in Los Angeles. “We’re here together. We’re family tonight ya’all.” Then they played a set that nearly burned the place down it was so hot. Specifically their track “Giver,” which chronicles the cry for a lover who chose another, just may have been the most emotionally moving performance I have ever witnessed. It was a slow tidal wave that built until it spilt itself all over the crowd. With almost every member playing a solo and Kam laying her heart out on the stage it left the crowd in a breathless trance.
After seeing the emotion and energy with which they perform their music, It’s no wonder that The Suffers are living in a cloud of musical buzz right now — 2015 has already seen the release of their first EP, their first tour and now countless upcoming festival performances (see their Facebook for all the deets). This 10-piece power house is poised to keep giving us their version of groovy Southern soul, so I suggest you get ready and ‘Make Some Room’ for The Suffers, world.
—All photos by Daniel Jackson