Highly Suspect

Slowdown and 89.7 The River Presents

Highly Suspect

And The Kids

Sun 4/2/17

Doors: 7:00 pm / Show: 8:00 pm (event ends at 11:00 pm)

$23

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This event is all ages

Highly Suspect
Highly Suspect
Festival-storming trio Highly Suspect returned with second albumThe Boy Who Died Wolf on November 18th, 2016. The moving, jubilant LP from the Brooklyn alt-renegades follows two Top 10 Mainstream Rock hits ("Lydia," "Bloodfeather") and two Grammy nominations (Best Rock Song, Best Rock Album) just one year from the release of their 300 Entertainment debut, 2015's Mister Asylum. For the follow-up, the band — Johnny Stevens (guitar/vocals), and fraternal twin brother rhythm section Rich (bass/vocals) and Ryan Meyer (drums/vocals) — are reappearing stronger, livelier and more mature. The effort earned the boys a third Grammy nominated for DzMy Name Is Humandz (Best Rock Song.)

"The title The Boy Who Died Wolf, it's like, we were so young and now we're adults," says Stevens. "I went through a lot of issues that I had to sort out and sometimes I can't believe that I'm alive. And now here I am traveling the world with my best friends, making music, and living the exact dream that we had set out to accomplish a long time ago ... We're learning a different lifestyle. And it's good, it's positive. But it's also hard to let go of everything that happened in the past."

That new lifestyle comes in the wake of success that's snowballed since 2014, featuring Grammy nods; radio smashes; stops at major festivals (Lollapalooza, Bonnaroo, Reading and Leeds and so on); tours alongside Scott Weiland, Chevelle and Catfish & the Bottlemen to name a few; tours around the world including Australia, New Zealand, Europe and the UK as well as multiple headlining tours in the United States one of which is currently underway. The feeling of celebration infuses The Boy Who Died Wolf, while still heading into haunted regions of Steven's past, yowling somewhere between the metronomic robot metal of Queens of the Stone Age, the bluesy wallop of Jack White and the feedback-shrieking noise-pop of In Utero-era Nirvana.

To record the LP, the band traveled far from their New York comfort zone to Bogotá, Colombia, recording with Mister Asylum producer Joel Hamilton (The Black Keys and Wu-tang, Tom Waits, Elvis Costello,).

"Normally we would record in New York or L.A., and when we're in those places we just have too many distractions, too many friends," says Stevens. "When you're trying to make art.. pure art, it's good to be secluded. So we were literally in a fortress, 20-foot walls all around this compound in the middle of Bogota."

"The energy around you, the culture that you're taking in, will affect the songs," he continues. "We were really enjoying ourselves. So I think there's a little more step to this album. There's happier tones. There's some dark stuff too but there are simply more uplifting moments on this album. I think we finally realized we are supposed to be here making music. That people like what we do. We had more trust in ourselves and each other and just let the music come out.

The upbeat vibe begins to show its face lyrically in the lead single "My Name Is Human" ("I'm feeling the way that I'm feeling myself"), and then appears full force on the blazing desert-rock dynamite of "Postres" ("I'm havin' fun for the rest of my days"), but takes a back seat in their dreamy cover of Real Life's 1983 new wave swooner "Send Me an Angel" and on the anthemic "Little One" which reminds us all of the hopeless, lovelorn pangs that most have undoubtedly felt in the pit of their guts somewhere along the lines. But even the more serious songs are steeped in an unrelenting optimism. A great friend of theirs took his own life while the band were in Colombia, to which they responded with "For Billy," a beaming post-grunge burst.

"The song is not a downer, it's sad, but it's a charged up anthem," explains Stevens. "It's what he would have wanted. It was a really sad moment but he was such a happy person. So that song is something he can blare through his Harley speakers wherever he is now ."

Johnny describes Billy as an "original crewmember" of MCID, the collective shouted out on Highly Suspect's jackets, hats, lyrics and tattoos. "That's our ethos," says Johnny of the acronym that stands for "My Crew Is Dope." "We're trying to invite any and all positive people to what was once exclusively for us. We've realized its bigger than us; as long as you're not a racist, not a homophobe and you have good intentions then we welcome you to join the family and spread the love." In turn, Wolf's "Viper Strike" namechecks MCID in a venomous, knives-out attack on bigots: "We're all equal except for you/'Cause you're an asshole with an ugly point of view"

"It's a family of positivity that we're really trying to build," says Johnny. "Our whole purpose is not just about being some famous fuckin' band, but kind of making a movement. Making a difference for our generation who are so constantly misled. We barely made it out of the wrong mentality. We want to help. We're no fuckin hippies, those days are gone. The irony is that now you have to "fight" for positivity. Which is crazy but so be it. We're strapped and ready to defend free thinking. When you come to our shows, it's kind of like this family affair."
And The Kids
And The Kids
Growing up, often the safest haven to plot your dreams and get a handle on your identity is within the confines of trusted friendships. For the musicians in the critically acclaimed band And The Kids, these bonds have been a life raft.

But as friendships evolve from adolescence to young adulthood, sometimes the lines between friends, lovers and all that comes in between can grow murky. On the Northampton, MA-based band's latest, Friends Share Lovers (out June 3rdon Signature Sounds), And The Kids examines blurred boundaries in close-knit relationships.

"The friends we grew up with were troublemakers, lost souls, dropouts, and mother figures," says And The Kids guitarist and vocalist Hannah Mohan. "The title references the incestuousness of friend groups and how things get messy."And The Kids channel existential crises into pop euphoria. With this sleight of hand, the quartet manages to conjure chunky indie rock, blissful new wave, chamber folk, jarring avant-garde, and brawny classic rock. Mohan navigates this expansive creativity with aplomb. Effortlessly she swoops heavenly for high tones, digs deep for swaggering rock n' roll low tones, and manages to mash up sweet sass with new wave bliss for a vocal feel that masks sage wisdom beneath sweet innocence. In addition to Mohan, And The Kids is Rebecca Lasaponaro on drums, Megan Miller on synthesizers and percussion, and bassist Taliana Katz.

The quartet's beginnings couldn't be better scripted: Mohan and Lasaponaro met in band class in seventh grade. A few years later, the duo dropped out of school and found themselves at a learning center that provided them with a free rehearsal space. There they practiced everyday, inspired by such diverse artists as Modest Mouse, Rilo Kiley, The Doors, and The Police, among others. Those formative moments in friendship and music have been everlasting.

In 2012, the fledging duo met Meghan when the three were interns at the Institute for the Musical Arts in Goshen, MA, and soon after welcomed her into the band. Recently, Miller has battled visa problems as a Canadian citizen and has been forced out of the United States for five years. To show the strength of their bonds as friends and artists, And The Kids chose to record Friends Share Lovers in Montreal so that Miller could participate. Recently, the trio added bassist Taliana Katz, a close and trusted friend who also attended IMA, to maintain a full sound live in Miller's forced absence from American touring. For four years, And The Kids has worked tirelessly to nurture its artistic vision and finesse its live performances. The band has gone from basement shows, open mics, and gigs at pizza joints to becoming an "on the verge" artist. And The Kids has released two EPs, two full-length records, and shared the stage with Rubblebucket, Sallie Ford, Lake Street Dive and Mother Falcon. Recent and upcoming live performance highlights include SXSW and a tour with Ra Ra Riot and PWR BTTM. The band will head out on a headlining tour in June bookended by summer festival dates. Along the way, And The Kids has garnered acclaim from NPR Music, The Wall Street Journal, andThe Boston Globe, among many others. Indie tastemakers Pitchfork enthuse: "And the Kids are among the Western Mass. indie scene's brightest creative lights."

Friends Share Lovers is an epiphanic entry in the band's catalog as it showcases the group's roiling emotionality in wider artistic palette settings. This album explores the power of sound sculpting with studio effects like reverb, majestic keyboard passages, and stacks of pillowy vocal harmonies.

Ironically, the songs on Friends Share Lovers began as compact compositions with spare instrumentation. With keyboardist and percussionist Miller stranded in Canada, Mohan and Lasaponaro workshopped their new material as a duo. But, when it came time to record, they chose Canada as a show of solidarity to their bandmate Miller. With Miller on board and their sights set on Canada, they tapped producer Jace Lasek, a member of The Besnard Lakes who has produced albums from Suuns and Land of Talk, and has mixed and recorded for Wolf Parade, Sunset Rubdown and Patrick Watson. Lasek came on as a co-producer, collaborating with And The Kids and helping the band realize its sonic aesthetic on the album.Friends Share Lovers bursts forth with the pent-up emotionality of the opening track, aptly titled "Kick Rocks." Here drum climaxes interlock with hypnotic harmony vocals, building a tension that crashes like a wave cresting, leaving in its wake glassy flowing melodies.

The thematic thread of relationships imbues the new wave elegance of "Friends Share Lovers"and "I Can't Tell What The Time Is Telling Me." The title track evokes a Smiths-like juxtaposition of balmy musicality set against poetic turmoil as Mohan wrestles with the complexities of a friendship sliding into a romance. The stunning "I Can't Tell What The Time Is Telling Me" envelops the listener with chiming guitars, oceanic synth textures, and sidesteps into classical melodic motifs. "That track is about getting through tough times with a new partner. It's about being true to yourself after you've fallen in love," Mohan explains. Closing the album is the ethereal "Pennies, Rice."It's a meditative track that rolls out slowly with measured grace. In some ways, it's something of a conceptual centerpiece. "This track is about having all the freedom in the world, but the only thing holding you back is your indecisiveness,"Mohan reveals.

Friends Share Lovers is that pivotal release, the follow up to a well-received album from a promising young band. The new album showcases And The Kids' considerable powers manifesting into a triumphant record that justifies the earlier praise.However, for the members of And The Kids, the impact that matters the most to them is the bonds they make with their audience. To that end, Mohan says: "What's been most meaningful is realizing what a big influence a small band can have. We see women at the shows who say they want to play music and that we inspired them to do what they love."
Venue Information:
Slowdown - Main Room
729 North 14th Street
Omaha, NE, 68102-4702
http://www.theslowdown.com/