Name: Susto & Wild Child
Location: The Sinclair – Cambridge, MA
I know, I know…This was not a festival but it is important that I share great musical experiences with you all-especially this one. Let me give you a bit of a background story first…
Lead singer and songwriter of Susto, Justin Osborne, has brought his impeccable lyrical storytelling together with great local musicians to construct a band that transcends across many different genres. According to the band’s bio, Osborne has always been around music but it wasn’t until studying abroad in Havana, Cuba, when he realized this is what he was meant to be doing. The Latin American influence is apparent not only in the music and many of their songs, but also in the bands name; “Susto” is a cultural folk illness attributed to the soul leaving the body. After his trip to Cuba, Osborne returned to Charleston, SC, with a renewed passion and influence and was ready to share his stories.
Susto’s self-titled first album was released in the Spring of 2014, which included many different local musicians. Within a series of videos titled “Susto Stories” that you can find on YouTube, fellow musician BJ Barham said that while he and his wife were on a two and a half week tour it was the only album they listened to while traveling (that’s a lot of car time) and even afterwards played the vinyl every night while they cooked dinner. I can personally attest that Barham is not alone in this obsession. Barham summed it up pretty well, “It’s just a rad record”. After a solo North American tour to promote the album, Osborne returned to Charleston where he put together a permanent live band of super awesome people.
Fast forward to September 22, 2016, and I was standing front left of the stage watching these awesome people jam. While Wild Child was the headliner (and is also awesome, by the way), we came to this show for Susto. I had first heard of Susto from a friend (who I went to the show with) and we fell in love with their music instantaneously. We had been listening to them for quite some time and seeing them live completely lived up to the hype we had placed on it. We couldn’t help ourselves from singing along as they opened with one of our favorites, “County Line” as we embraced the initial stares in our direction from other concertgoers who soon fed off the energy the band naturally elicits. Guitarist Johnny Delaware swung his head back and forth the entire show, swaying his long locks in front of his face. The man must have had a headache after. You could tell from the back another band member, Jenna, was feeling the music. It was almost like you could see the notes escaping from the strings on her bass guitar.
They continued to play songs from their first album including favorites, “Dream Girl”, “Friends, Lovers, Ex-Lovers: Whatever”, and “Acid Boys”. Also included in their set list were three new tunes. You can hear them on their aforementioned Youtube channel entitled Susto Stories here. They ended their set with “Cigarettes, Whiskey and Wine” and Osborne emphatically spitting a mouthful of water into the air. We could have stood there all night listening to the alt-country goodness but unfortunately it had to end at some point. The crowd really seemed to enjoy the show and anyone within a 10 foot radius of us most likely knows all the lyrics now as well. At one point I actually apologized to the girls in front of us because it felt like I had been yelling in their ears the entire time. Don’t worry though, they were cool, they said that they were digging the show and feeding off our energy.
I can’t say enough good things about the show and the band members themselves. We had the chance to hang out with Osborne and some of the other after the show. We may have taken a few too many shots but when you get the chance to hang out with one of your favorite bands, you would too. It’s an awesome combination when you infuse great music with great people. It reinforces the quality and sincerity of their music and gives you a sense of why they do what they do. They are real and their stories are real. Osborne even explained to me that “Dream Girl” was actually a real dream he had where a blacked haired, blue eye’d girl was eating at his fingers. He seemed to think that the girl could have been some version of himself because he also has black hair and blue eyes. (You can read about more stories he tells through his music in a recent interview here). The ability to transfer these stories into songs that you just can’t stop listening to makes them so special. Trust me – go listen to them right now, you’ll get it.
Keep an eye out for Susto’s new album titled “& I’m Fine Today” being released on Friday, January, 13th 2017. If it is anything like their first album, you will regret it if you don’t pick it up. After hearing a few songs from the new album, it is for sure going to be just as amazing.
Also just annoucned is their upcoming tour with Kaleo and The Lumineers. Yup, The Lumineers! It’s gonna rock. I’ll be there to cover that just incase you miss it. Check out the tour dates here and get your tickets ASAP.
Susto is REAL.
Editor: Noah F.R.