Highly Suspect with Dead Poets Society Concert Review
February 28, 2023
The Castle Theatre
Highly Suspect returned to Bloomington-Normal, Illinois on Tuesday, February 28th. They sold out The Castle Theatre again. The band was here in 2017 and sold out that show as well. We know from research that listening to live music increases endorphins and serotonin. Tuesday is as good a night as any to get those good brain chemicals at a live show. Live music is probably as good if not better for boosting your mood. The winter is dragging on in central Illinois. Most of the locals had work the next day but are old pros at going to bed late and getting up early.
Opening for Highly Suspect was Boston rock band, Dead Poet Society. The band formed while band members were attending Berklee College. The band consists of vocalist, Jack Underkofler, guitarist, Jack Collins, drummer Will Goodroad, and bassist Dylan Brenner. You may have heard their song “CoDA.” on Spotify’s Dirty Rock playlist. The band was unassuming with a simple, four-piece stage set up. No certain style in their clothing as they wore generic jeans, t-shirts, and hoodies. The music was all over the place. Each live song sounded different from the song before it. There were punk undertones with a Deftones feel and then some math rock breakdowns. The crowd really enjoyed their set. For fans of cleopatrick, Franz Ferninand, and just creative rock. You can learn more about Dead Poet Society on their website: wearedps.com
Grammy winners, Highly Suspect, is touring in support of their fourth studio album, The Midnight Demon Club. The album was released on September 9, 2022. While some critics say the album is not as strong as their previous albums. I think that The Midnight Demon Club is one of their best albums. Some of the songs are more electronic but still rooted in great guitar riffs and poetic lyrics. The single, “Natural Born Killer”, reached number one on U.S. Mainstream Rock chart. The video is a statement on pharmaceuticals with an avant guarde harbinger of death with ice cream cones of drugs to help people cope with their life traumas.
Highly Suspect squeezed onto the stage at The Castle Theatre. Their backdrop was Highly Suspect in dripping paint and an awesome artwork to go along with The Midnight Demon Club song list. Unfortunately a lot of the artwork was covered by the light bars behind the band. Regardless, we were there to listen to the music and get our fix of Serotonin.
The band took the stage on time and wore unique t-shirts and jeans and some MCID gear. Vocalist, Johnny Stevens, was wearing a Selena t-shirt. They started the night with Bath Salts. Their setlist consisted of old and new songs. The fans knew every new song off of The Midnight Demon Club. The album is so catchy. If you listen to it, next thing you know you’re singing the lyrics,
“I-I hate myself
But I’m loving this
Yeah, I could never fix my shit
But I’m so good at judging it”
Rich Meyer took over the vocals when performing the song “Arizona” acoustically. His voice is amazing. The song sounded so sad that you wanted to hold your lighter in the air and just feel the song. During “Claudeland”, Johnny lit up a cigarette so we knew it was the final song.
The full setlist:
Natural Born Killer
Midnight Demon Club
Look Alive, Stay Alive
In many ways, Highly Suspect is one of the true bands who are pushing the envelope of rock in a place of their own. They are not doing what everyone else is or trying to get more views or go viral. They are artists lyricizing our fears, pointing out what’s f*cked up, and feeling the heartache of lost loved ones. Their live show never disappoints and you should see them if you can.
You can find out more about Highly Suspect on their website: