Sign up for newsletter

Don't forget, The Suffers are from Houston

The Sinclair, Cambridge, Mass., April 24, 2018

Reviewed by Jeffrey B. Remz

The Suffers leader Kam Franklin made it clear to the hundreds assembled that she absolutely did not want fans to forget exactly a few key facts.

A chunk of the way through the band's first area appearance in two years, Franklin told the young crowd that she wanted them to make sure that they knew who they were seeing and where they were from (Houston). Franklin said there was a band The Sufferers from Austin and The Surfers, or something like that, from Dallas.

As was her style throughout the night, Franklin was far from scolding the crowd, but made it into a humorous moment. She made a few more mentions of the band name and hometown.

In reality, Franklin (probably knowingly) need not have worried because these folks showed off their musical chops to ensure that the crowd would not quickly forget who they are.

Franklin was an easy going, soft-spoken front woman for the engaging soul band with lots of trombone and horn plus keyboards to make for a lively night.

There's a lot of power in her voice, but she wasn't given to being a show off either

This was soul music all right, but more of the deep album cut variety instead of songs overtly radio friendly.

And like a lot of soul music, love was in the air or sometimes the lack thereof. Franklin had no problems talking about it and certainly singing about love's ups and downs. The entirety of the lyrics of one song was its title "You Only Call When You Need Something," which she had the crowd help out in singing. This was the type of music that got into a groove, plugged in the horns, and away they went.

Chances are the supportive crowd - a rarity for Boston in being racially diverse - had no misconceptions about what band they were seeing. Shows like this only helped to underscore just who The Suffers are and what they are capable of doing.

The same may be said for The Suitcase Junket, the amusing and musically worthy opening act. There is no band per se because The Suitcase Junket is Matthew Lorenz, a western Massachusetts resident, unless you consider his right and left toes and other body parts as he joked when introducing the "band."

Lorenz could have been accused of being gimmicky in being seated at the drum kit, playing guitar, keyboards, bones and not sure what else during the course of a song.

He had a sometimes bluesy rock approach to his music, which he took very seriously even if his appearance and demeanor wasn't. There's a lot of bark and bite to Lorenz, and he more than made up for the idea of not having other band members. The Suitcase Junket provided a very strong opening set, musically different from The Suffers, but close enough to make for an excellent pairing.