ACL 2015 Must-See Band: The Suffers

Kam Franklin's vocals anchor The Suffers. The band also includes Pat Kelly, Adam Castaneda, Michael Razo, Kevin Bernier, Jon Durbin, Cory Wilson, Nick Zamora, Jose "Chapy" Luna and Alex Zamora. Photo Credit: Daniel Jackson

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For two consecutive three-day weekends in October, Austin rolls out the green carpet of Zilker’s Great Lawn to welcome the over 100 bands and artists who play the Austin City Limits Music Festival, or, as it’s more commonly known, ACL. To help you get ready, we will be sharing what we’ve learned covering the festival for the past five years. We’ll also help you decide what bands to add to your 2015 ACL schedule. For even more on this year’s festival, check us out on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and be sure to take a look at our 2015 ACL board on Pinterest.

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One of the bands on our must-see list for the 2015 ACL Music Festival is The Suffers, a ten-piece group which sprang onto the Houston music scene in 2011 and has been captivating audiences far and wide ever since with high-energy performances and an intriguing mix of musical genres. The Suffers’ lineup was put together by bassist Adam Castaneda and vocalist/keyboardist Pat Kelly, who brought on trumpet player Jon Durbin, trombonist Michael Razo, guitarist Kevin Bernier, percussionist Jose “Chapy” Luna, and drummer/vocalist Nick Zamora. Jazz saxophonist Cory Wilson and guitarist/vocalist Alex Zamora filled out the rhythm section, while frontwoman Kam Franklin topped off the group with soaring vocals. In addition to performing over 150 shows in the past year, The Suffers have remained a local favorite, accepting 20 Houston Press Music Awards in the last three years, as well as making many stops in Austin. I had the chance to see the band perform during South by Southwest last year, and left feeling electrified and energized. The enthusiasm of the band is contagious, and the audience seemed genuinely sad when the set was over.

If you aren’t already convinced to put the band on your schedule, watch Dave Letterman’s reaction to the band after The Suffers performed “Gwan” on the Late Show:

Catch The Suffers on the BMI stage on Sunday, October 4 from 4:30pm-5:30pm.

Kam Franklin’s vocals anchor The Suffers. The band also includes Pat Kelly, Adam Castaneda, Michael Razo, Kevin Bernier, Jon Durbin, Cory Wilson, Nick Zamora, Jose “Chapy” Luna and Alex Zamora. Photo Credit: Daniel Jackson

We had the chance to ask the band’s lead singer, Kam Franklin, about The Suffers’ musical influences, what bands they are most looking forward to seeing perform at ACL and what’s up next for the band.

LiveMom: How would you describe your sound?

Kam: We describe our sound as Gulf Coast Soul. For folks that might be unfamiliar with what that means, our music is a representation of the city that we hail from, Houston. It is filled with an array of cultures and style. When you listen to our music, you get a blend of everything from cumbia to classic soul to jazz.

LiveMom: Who are your musical influences?Advertisement
Kam: This list could go on forever, but a few of the people that inspire us include: The Roots, D’Angelo, Erykah Badu, Willie Nelson, Hall and Oats, The Fania All-Stars, Selena, Barrington Levy, and Alton Ellis.

LiveMom: What are you most looking forward to about performing at ACL?

Kam: We are mostly looking forward to performing for new fans and old ones. It is an honor to be included on the ACL lineup, and we definitely plan on bringing our best.

LiveMom: What are some of your favorite places to perform in Austin?

Kam: We love The Mohawk, The Parish, and Empire Control Room.

LiveMom: What bands are you most looking forward to seeing perform at the Festival?

Kam: We can’t wait to see Billy Idol, The Strokes, Chance The Rapper, and Kehlani.

LiveMom: What’s next for the band after ACL?

Kam: We are in the middle of a Kickstarter campaign to help raise funds for the marketing of our full-length record that comes out in February. If you visit, you can see a full list of perks and information.

For more on the band, check out The Suffers website and follow them on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.


About Nicole Basham 793 Articles
A native Austinite and soccer-playing mom, Nicole uses her 10-year-old son as an excuse to rediscover her hometown through his eyes. In Thoreau's words, her mission is to "suck out all the marrow of life", or in her son's words, to cultivate in him a love of "advenchers".

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