Published on November 28th, 2018

The Suffers by Todd Spoth

Suffering runs a gamut from the prolonged watery hell that Houstonians lived through with Hurricane Harvey to the managing of everyday indignities that is part of life.

Some might say that being in an acclaimed band is not suffering at all. But as the eight members of Houston’s the Suffers see it, and have shared in other outlets, there is some lingering hurt to be endured when you’re a diverse Texas soul band  — mainly, the ease with which you’re seen first as a novelty act fronted by a woman of color.

But when that woman is the incredibly talented mezzo-soprano Kam Franklin, you better drop the tabloids and head on out to catch it live because pipes like hers are to be savored in person. Of course, their two albums do them justice, but you know what we mean without having to recap the midterms and bring up heavy-handed comparisons to Alabama Shakes and Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings.

Formed in 2011 with bassist Adam Castaneda, percussionist Jose Luna, drummer Nick Zamora, guitarist Kevin Bernier, keyboardist Pat Kelly, trumpet player Jon Durbin and trombonist Michael Razo backing Franklin; a pair of EPs and their 2016 self-titled album brought them to the attention of late-night TV and NPR. Their latest, “Everything Here,” is a perfect platter of deliberately composed, good-time, dance-driven music that is both easy pop and intellectually rewarding.

In a short five years, they’ve defied pigeon-holing and propelled themselves into America’s consciousness with conviction and charisma, and been widely credited with redefining “the sound of Gulf Coast Soul.” They might not (yet) be the household names they’re compared to, but they’re coming out from under that shadow in a big way.

Good soul music has a way of sniffing out fakeness. Good soul music has a way of infecting you just right. There’s no one better out there this moment spreading the truth bug better than Kam Franklin and the Suffers. Don’t sleep on them now before they get too big to make the return trip. Because it happens — that’s how South Floridians suffer.

The Suffers open for Thievery Corporation 8:30 pm on December 8 at the Fillmore Miami Beach, $31-$78. ~ Abel Folgar

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