Written by Dave Clements – January 17, 2020
Thank you United Airlines and equal if not bigger thanks to my son, BC, lead singer of the now retired Houston based band Taste of Garlic. You remember them? Often played Fitz.
For for the last several years BC has been telling me how I needed to go see this band called The Suffers. And every time he said it there was a genuine, enthusiastic insistence that catching them live was imperative – and further that they needed to be in my book Raising A Hand . Of course I believed him yet for one reason or another it just didn’t happen until last night. You can correctly assume it was a positive experience due to my ‘thanks’. But why am I also thanking United Airlines?
After learning that The Suffers were playing at Houston’s House Of Blues I got called out of town to deal with a family situation in Virginia and the flight I was scheduled to return to Houston on was just moments before The Suffers were scheduled to hit the downtown stage. I gave UA a call the night before and begged their assistance in getting me on an earlier flight the day of the show, something that generally doesn’t come without a significant penalty. This time miraculously an agent named Brian helped me out big time and got me on a flight that arrived late morning, giving me plenty of time to see the band.
At precisely 8:30 pm The Suffers, a home town soul band, hit the stage full throttle ready to kick ass. Faster than a speeding bullet my wife and I knew right away that we were in for a real treat. The treat was to witness a show that not only met but far exceeded the hype from BC!
Kam Franklin is the heart of The Suffers. And the eight talented support players that back her are the soul of The Suffers. And together they are the perfect package and so much more. This synergy was positively explosive on stage!
Kam Franklin is, speaking of explosive, an explosion of wonderful resonating sounds that went on and on for a solid sixty minutes. Vocally she holds her own with some of the iconic names of Soul Music history. Kam is part Gladys Knight, part Aretha Franklin, part Tina Turner with a little sprinkle of Diana Ross, Dione Warwick and 2020 inductee to the R & R Hall Of Fame, Whitney Houston. Ms. Franklin can hold her own. She is simply more female vocal power than I have ever seen on a music stage for over a half century.
And Kam Franklin knows how to MOVE on stage…and is relentless in her efforts to keep dancing while she is busting out her thunderous vocals.
There have been only a handful of times since I’ve been listening to live music that I’ve felt the show’s promoters got it totally wrong. This was one of those times. In this reviewer’s opinion, Big Freedia should be opening for The Suffers eleven out of ten times! You don’t put the ‘build up’ AFTER the explosion!!
And speaking of Big Freedia I can only say she did nothing for me. The sound was overwhelming, redundant, and whatever talent came from the stage it wasn’t enough to hold my attention. I will concede that maybe if I had stayed and listened longer maybe she would have grown on me albeit doubtful.
Before closing just another word or two about Whitney Houston being one of the new inductees to the Rock & Roll Hall of Shame. Sorry…Fame. I love Whitney Houston’s voice and songs yet I don’t consider her a R&R singer. Putting that aside, how is it that as the sixth highest vote getter, half of what Dave Matthews Band or Pat Benatar received, that she along with Depeche Mode (7th), Nine Inch Nails (9th), T. Rex (10th) and The Notorious B.I.G. (11th) got into the Rock & Rock Hall and Dave and Pat did not? There is something fundamentally wrong with this picture. What are the non-public voters thinking by having a ‘public vote’? Just put in who you want to put in and don’t put us, the public listeners and fans, through this exercise in frustration and disappointment. And leave ‘we’, the public, to decide which it is…Fame or Shame. My vote right now is shame (and it isn’t a reflection on any of this year’s class).
Until next time support live music every chance you have…we need to keep it alive and go see The Suffers!