The Bowery Presents
SUSTO + Atlas Road Crew + Stop Light Observations

NYC's Charleston Affair Pre-Party

SUSTO + Atlas Road Crew + Stop Light Observations

Wed, April 26, 2017

Doors: 6:00 pm / Show: 8:00 pm

Brooklyn Bowl

Brooklyn, NY

$16

This event is 21 and over

$1 from every ticket to be donated to College of Charleston School of the Arts

SUSTO
SUSTO
Justin Osborne needed a break.

He'd been writing music and making albums since he was 15, and by the age of 26, he felt like he was spinning his wheels. He knew he needed a change, so he ended his old band Sequoyah Prep School and moved to Cuba. He thought he might be done with music for a while, but the songs just kept coming.

"I had this idea in my mind that I was going to try and join some kind of Latin American Leftist movement. I wanted to jump off a cliff," Osborne says. "Once I got there I immediately started hanging out with musicians and going to shows. I started showing them the songs from this project that was kind of just an idea in my head.

"They were like, 'man, don't throw away your passport, go home and continue to make music,'" he says. "I was encouraged by them to try again."

Osborne ended the relationship he was in, started touring and writing constantly and eventually dropped out of school with just one paper and exam left to finish. He also made an aesthetic upgrade, getting the words "Acid Boys" tattooed across his knuckles.

"I was always afraid of committing fully to the idea of trying to make it. I think in some ways, that's what held my old band back. I thought maybe I'll go to school and I'll be an anthropologist and go live abroad," he says. "Then I did all that, and I realized no, I need to go back to what I'm good at. I got the knuckle tattoos to keep me out of everything else."

Osborne was already writing the songs for what would be SUSTO's 2014 self-titled debut when his producer Wolfgang Zimmerman introduced him to Johnny Delaware, a guitarist and songwriter who had moved to Charleston, South Carolina to make an album with the producer.

"We started meshing and gelling really well. We liked aspects of what each other did, so as the record started to really take shape in the studio, Johnny came in and really played a key role in that," Osborne says. "At that point, it became one step closer to being a band thing."

SUSTO is a Spanish word referring to a folk illness in Latin America that Osborne learned as anthropology student, meaning "when your soul is separated from your body," and also roughly translates to a panic attack. For Osborne, the music of SUSTO was something he had to get out into the world.

"Going through my life I was just lost, and I didn't have direction, and I wanted direction," he says. Raised in Puddin' Swamp, South Carolina, Osborne moved to Charleston to attend military school, and didn't really get to experience much of the city -- one of the main artistic hubs of the South -- until he left his junior year to tour with his first band.

"I did acid for the first time. I started to gradually grow away from religion. I started to become my own person when I moved to Charleston," he says, adding that it's an especially great place to play music because "people are into all kinds of stuff. They go out to shows. I wouldn't say Charleston is a country music town or an indie rock town, it's just a town where people like cool shit, so I think that people appreciate creativity when it comes to creating a genre instead of working within one that exists."

SUSTO released their debut album independently and toured relentlessly to get the word out. They were an immediate hit in their hometown, packing venues, getting airplay at all the bars and even making a fan of Band of Horses' Ben Bridwell. "I got an e-mail from him, telling me he loved the record and wanted to meet with me and Johnny," he says. "That was actually the day I wrote my professor, and I said, 'I'm not coming in.'"

But that wasn't enough. "I was like, 'we can't just make it in Charleston.' My friends in the band Shovels & Ropes told me once, 'it's a big country and we got to get out there and get everybody.'"

The members of the live band that Osborne and Delaware recruited -- Corey Campbell (guitar, keys, backing vocals), Jenna Desmond (bass), and Marshall Hudson (drums, percussion) contributed to SUSTO's new album & I'm Fine Today, which will be released via Caroline. "We just wanted to go further. We started something with the first record, and we want to keep going in that direction," Osborne says of the album, which finds them taking the spacey country rock of their debut into the stratosphere, piling on layers of sighing keyboards, galloping rhythms and frayed, noisy guitar solos atop wistful melodies and lyrics that examine growing up and growing into yourself. Much of the album was recorded by Osborne, Delaware and Zimmerman, with the other members contributing as needed.

On "Hard Drugs," Osborne muses about reconnecting with an estranged friend during a personal crisis ("I'm thankful that I have some friends that are totally fine with me telling some stories about things we've all been through together") and on "Mystery Man," Delaware writes about "the feeling of appreciation for someone coming into your life, someone like yourself." On "Wasted Mind," one of the most personal songs on the album, Osborne, and Delaware reflect on the journey they've been through together.

"We wrote that [song] about finally having a voice that was being heard, and about trying and failing and then finally getting some ears to listen to you," he says. "It's about the ups and downs of that, and how you get to travel, and you're just kind of in and out of people's lives, and it's hard but beautiful, and also how you start to come out of the haze of partying and start thinking about your life's value."

In many ways, "Wasted Mind" is & I'm Fine Today in miniature, as the album circles around the theme of punching through life's difficulties and learning to be comfortable with the person you've grown into. "I feel like I am better. We put the first record out, and we worked hard, and it just feels like a good place to be," he says, noting that while the first record focused on his own struggles, & I'm Fine Today is more concerned with looking at the world beyond the struggles in your head.

"I've learned to appreciate the fact that I just get to be here. It's all perspective," he says. "This album is about coming to terms with yourself and feeling okay with your place in the universe."
Atlas Road Crew
Atlas Road Crew
South Carolina rock 'n' roll shot with southern soul accents. Formed in fall of 2011, Atlas Road Crew is rapidly building one of the most loyal fan bases on the East Coast, packing venues to capacity from South Carolina to New York City, and expanding quickly to major US cities in between.

The overwhelming positive response to the band’s latest recorded effort Halfway to Hopkins,produced by Grammy Award winning producer Rick Beato, has this young band quickly becoming the South East’s “must see” live act of 2015.

Halfway to Hopkins is a sonic blast from start to finish, bringing swampy southern accents to fresh, contemporary tunes while managing to capture the band’s blistering live show prowess on tape. The title refers to a small community outside Columbia where the band lived for several years after graduating from the nearby University of South Carolina. “That house, which was halfway between Columbia and Hopkins on the southeast side of town, was where we really began to come together,” Says drummer Patrick Drohan. “We knew then we wanted to become more than just another bar band.”

Riding the momentum of the record release, Atlas Road Crew’s constant touring led them to a six week European tour in early 2016 followed by an aggressive US club and festival run. Aussie rock ‘n’ roll blog 100 Percent Rock sums it all up nicely in their review, saying in no uncertain terms “This is EXACTLY the sort of music we should be listening to right now: bands taking old favourites and adding new directions, writing great songs, delivering ace performances. This is the good stuff.”
Stop Light Observations
Stop Light Observations
“In the 1930’s, the blues sang the sorrows of a man with nothing,” says JohnKeith “Cubby” Culbreth, principal songwriter of Stop Light Observations. “This 21st century album, ironically, sings the sorrows of a man with everything. ‘Toogoodoo’ is the ‘Middle Class Blues.'”

For as long as Americans have sought the illusions of comfort and security in materialism and wealth, there have been those who rejected the predictability of conformity in search of something more authentic. From Thoreau at Walden Pond to Jack Kerouac’s manic crosscountry road trips, the quest for fulfillment plays out uniquely in the art of every generation. For Charleston’s Stop Light Observations (aka SLO), the search for something more meaningful led them on a journey through ecstatic highs and crippling lows, artistic triumphs and business setbacks, and, ultimately, right back home to the Toogoodoo River in South Carolina.

The roots of SLO stretch deep into childhood, when Cubby first began assembling the lineup as a middle schooler, but things didn’t truly take off until the band released their acclaimed 2013 debut album, ‘Radiation.’ Metronome Charleston hailed their “emotive and elegant” songs, which blended arena-sized rock with undercurrents of hip-hop and folk, while the Charleston City Paper profiled their unexpected rise, which “took many in the music industry by surprise” as they went from relative unknowns to playing Bonnaroo and selling out Charleston’s largest rock club, The Music Farm, in roughly a year. Since then, they’ve gone on to break the record for most consecutive sellouts at The Music Farm and perform live shows all across the country, including more standout festival sets from Firefly to Summerfest . Despite the rapid growth of their fanbase, though, the band had to deal with misplaced trust in music industry figures along with a series of setbacks and the accompanying disillusionment. They hit rock bottom at the end of a tour in Colorado, facing a depleted budget, no shows on the books, and the potential dissolution of the band.

“I remember sitting in the van wondering what we were going to do and how we were even going to make another record,” remembers singer Will Blackburn. “I said, ‘Why don’t we go out to Toogoodoo?'”

It wasn’t the first time Blackburn had suggested it, but it was the first time Cubby took the idea seriously. Toogoodoo is a more than 200-year-old private family compound located about 30 minutes outside of Charleston on the Toogoodoo River . Cubby’s family had been renting it out to vacationers in recent years, and while beautiful, it’s a far cry from a modern recording studio. The grounds are a trip back in time, far removed from the luxuries of Charleston and its bright, sunny beaches. The property overlooks immense, brackish marshes where the ocean and river water meet, and the specter of Charleston’s sometimes dark history hangs heavy, a counterbalance to the currents of peaceful serenity and natural splendor that flow throughout the property.

The band decided the only way to properly record an album there would be to track everything live as a full band over the course of eleven days , and then to render the resulting songs through analog tape. They relocated all of their gear and set up in the house on a tireless quest to capture the sound in their heads. Even once they felt like they’d nailed a perfect take, SLO would push onwards to cut it again with even more intensity. Sometimes 40 performances deep into a song, bandmembers would continue to call for one more, and one more again until something undeniably transcendent happened.

“I grew up in a church, and it was like a Holy Spirit type of situation,” says Cubby. “Every single time we got the one, we all knew that was it, there were no arguments. We would just hug and sometimes cry. The best thing about it all is that every single song on this album captures that deep level of emotion we felt performing it. Every song you hear is “The” take and everytime I listen to them it takes me right back.”

‘Toogoodoo’ opens with the first notes SLO recorded there, the haunting, palm-muted hook of Louis Duffie’s guitar on “Dinosaur Bones.” As a chorus of crickets fades into the Low Country night, Blackburn’s voice enters on top, smooth as silk at first but gaining grit and gravel with each verse, musing on loneliness and emptiness in the modern world over the intensifying rhythms of drummer Luke Withers. “Decorated on the outside, but empty at my core,” he sings, setting the stage for a journey through middle class alienation and dissatisfaction over the next eleven tracks.

“My generation has grown up with a ridiculous amount of privilege and lived a better life than any king in history,” reflects Cubby. “Think about it: we have planes to fly around the world; grocery stores with endless food; TV and internet; AC and heating; running water and flushing toilets; medicine if we get sick; sound machines to block out the noise if we can’t sleep in our soft cotton beds. All of this stuff exists because the human race is chasing after an easier, more comfortable life. But when you experience the absence of pain, you also experience the absence of positive feelings. America is in a numb state, and as a millennial, I feel confident that my generation can speak to this truth better than any.”

On the hypnotic “Security,” Blackburn sings sarcastically of the only things that will bring true satisfaction (“two cold beers, a hot bitch, and security”) and later asks, “Shit, why don’t we feel happy?” The gospelinfluenced “50 Ways” and rollicking “Know It Alls” examine ego and humility, while “Aquarius Apocalyptic” is a stream of consciousness musing on the end of the world that came to Cubby in a lucid dream. Despite the frequently grand themes, there are more intimate, personal moments on the album, too, like “For Elizabeth”—a fond farewell to a lover—and “Who You Are,” a reminder that in spite of the time and distance while the band is on the road, their loved ones are always on their minds. Many of the tracks were directly inspired by SLO’s surroundings, too, from the bluesy “Leroy”—named after a homeless man in Charleston’s Old Village who came to work at Toogoodoo—to the chain gang a cappella of “Dead”—which captures the eerie footsteps of one of the property’s ghosts—to the sweet, instrumental tranquility of ” Stepping Away ,” recorded at night on the dock that hangs above the Toogoodoo River.

While South Carolina is an essential element of SLO’s identity, they’re certainly not a “Southern rock” band.

“Southerners are the storytellers of America,” reflects Cubby. “You might listen to our music and hear elements of classic rock and modern indie rock and blues and folk and hip hop, but underneath all of that tying everything together is southern storytelling.”

The stories on ‘Toogoodoo’ will at once feel familiar and revelatory, as SLO takes an insightful look at the contradictions of a modern society that has access to everything (and everyone) at its fingertips, yet still so often feels empty and alone. The answers, they discovered while creating this album, don’t lie in possessions, or status, or in anything external.

“There’s no such thing as security, and all the answers you’re searching for and the fulfillment you want is a daily struggle that lives within you,” concludes Cubby. “It’s your responsibility to love and accept yourself and to share the energy you receive from that with others. And that’s what this album is. It’s the story of some 23 year olds living in America in 2016.”
Venue Information:
Brooklyn Bowl
61 Wythe Avenue
Brooklyn, NY, 11249
http://www.brooklynbowl.com/