Band: The Suffers
Date: Friday, May 19, 12:30 p.m.
Venue: Surf Stage

The Surf Stage will open Hangout Fest with a blast of sweet, versatile grooves from Houston band The Suffers, who pride themselves on being purveyors of what they call “Gulf Coast Soul.” According to vocal powerhouse Kam Franklin, this trademark sound is a reflection of the collective musical personality of the band. All the members are Houston natives influenced by the city’s variety of cultures.

While the band’s sound is built upon a foundation of soul, overall there’s an obvious classic rhythm and blues influence. This concept is strengthened by a songwriting process Franklin describes as truly collaborative.

“When you hear us, you’ll hear everything from gospel to traditional soul music to jazz to reggae to salsa to Latin percussion,” she said. “It’s just a mix of everything. We decided to call it Gulf Coast Soul, because that is a true representation of what it is that we do.”

A few months ago, The Suffers took a run through Europe. Franklin says there was quite a bit of apprehension in the days leading up to the tour. With no European record deal or distribution, The Suffers thought their shows might draw meager crowds. However, online music sources such as Spotify and Pandora as well as word of mouth helped make the European tour so successful, the band can’t wait to return.

“Right now, we’re trying to figure out a way to get back there before the end of the year,” Franklin said. “It was a life-changing experience for us, and it changed how we, as a band, approach our performances.”

The Suffers will warm up Hangout Fest with cuts from their 2016 self-titled debut. The band plans to head back into the studio at the end of this month for initial work on their next album. Afterward, they will complete the effort in a series of sessions throughout the remainder of the year.

Franklin says the band hopes to release their sophomore effort in 2018. However, those attending Hangout Fest 2017 will have a chance to preview some of the new material, which she describes as “a good time.”

“Hangout is such a diverse collection of artists that it’s really impossible to have a bad time,” she said. “I think we’re playing pretty early on Friday, so we’re basically going to be the welcoming party and get people excited and feeling good and happy.” People need a distraction from all the bad stuff going on in the world right now.”