The Suffers Hit Like A 5-Alarm Plate of Shrimp and Grits
By DONNA BALANCIA
The Suffers put on a short show that packed a powerful punch the other night at The Echo.
The lively set by the 8-piece band led by dynamic front woman Kam Franklin grabbed the audience and never let go as The Suffers ripped through tunes some new and some known.
The band impressed the crowded house of fans who ranged in age from about 20 to 60 years old.
Kam’s presence is a commanding experience as she dominates the stage with kid gloves, showing the love and talking about how music can be a healing therapy and agent for change. She’s like an open book, inspiring others with her tales of woe and success.
From Banker to Rock Star
Kam started as an investment banker and decided to follow her dream. There were tough times, she said, recalling that she and her bandmates weren’t sure that when they played LA a while back that they would ever actually be able to return. The Suffers high energy show is a celebration of accomplishments and Kam said the band is a living example that when you set your sites and harness determination, you can achieve your dreams.
Her theme is simple: Music Heals.
Kam encouraged the audience to keep listening to music, keep creating remarkable works and appreciate those closest to you. The Suffers show was limited to one hour, but the band slayed in that short time, leaving the audience calling for more.
“No matter what goes on in the world outside, we’re all in here for one hour and we’re going to enjoy ourselves,” she told the audience. A tribute to Sharon Jones was to take place shortly after The Suffers set. Kam paid homage to the musical foundation set down by Jones, the renowned soul singer who passed away last week from pancreatic cancer at the age of 60.
Kam said she has been compared to Jones on many occasions and we all owe a debt of gratitude to Jones who led a soul revival that started in New York City and continues today.
The musicians who comprise The Suffers are the dedicated and talented Pat Kelly, Adam Castaneda, Michael Razo, Kevin Bernier, Jon Durbin, Cory Wilson, Nick Zamora, Jose “Chapy” Luna, Alex Zamora. The horn section brings a retro pizzazz that highlights the hard work of the bassist, drums, guitar and keyboards.
The Suffers Teach a New Lesson
It’s a cohesive group of Houston-based musicians who came together to teach us a new lesson. This is not your mom’s soul music.
The Suffers call their style of music “Gulf Coast Soul,” a fitting genre for this band. The Suffers make you feel as if you’ve just been handed a plate of buttery shrimp and grits with an extra helping of five-alarm hot sauce on the side. They’re cozy and spicy at the same time, unleashing the tunes of heartbreak and love with a unified sound that heralds an era of new soul music.
Kam bonds with the audience, talking to the crowd as comfortably as she would be talking to a well-loved friend. Healing, helping and feeding were central to the performance as she continually reminded the crowd of the name of the band and had them repeat it back, along with the town the band is from, Houston.
But after all that, what probably will be long remembered was this special show by a lady with a devoted troupe of talented musicians and her heartfelt request for people to love each other.