Show Review and Interview: Susto at Soda Bar

If you've never heard of Susto , I don't blame you but you won't be able to stay in the dark for much longer. The Charleston, So...

If you've never heard of Susto, I don't blame you but you won't be able to stay in the dark for much longer. The Charleston, South Carolina-based alternative country rock band are finally getting the recognition they deserve. I was lucky enough to attend their show at the Soda Bar just a couple days before they played their first Stagecoach festival in Indio, CA. I even got a chance to chat with the brain behind the whole operation, Justin Osborne.

soda bar, san diego, susto

Osborne began his musical career in high school with the short-lived but promising pop punk band, Sequoyah Prep School. He found himself looking for a new adventure so he decided to pursue part of his studies in Cuba for a study abroad program. While there he developed a love for the traditional Cuban trova music. Obsorne said he enjoyed the "confessional but dark and playful" vibe of the music.

While generally a positive person, he needed an outlet for his wide spectrum of emotions. His newest project, Susto, is the perfect way to do so. The band is named after a Latin American folk illness where it is believed that the soul separates from the body after a traumatic event has occurred.

susto, charleston, soda bar

Speaking of his hometown, Osborne commented, "Everybody kind of knows everybody. There's very much a scene." During Susto's first album, they often referred to themselves as "cosmic country." "We felt a little bit out there compared to the people we were playing with" said Osborne regarding Susto's "astral and cerebral" sound in their first album.

susto, soda bar, sustoisreal
At their Soda Bar show, Susto took the stage to a very receptive crowd. Confident and energetic, they played the gospel-inspired "Black Jesus," the slow and summery "County Line," and more. I appreciated the wide spectrum of emotions and instrumental textures from the doom and gloomy "Friends, Lovers, Ex-Lovers... Whatever" to my favorite and their latest single, "Cosmic Cowboy."

Speaking more about Susto's sophomore album, Osborne said "it's like the first album on steroids." He referred to it as "more groovy" with an "urban country feel." "We learned where we could go in our first record. We're going to keep pushing the limits" Osborne said as he referred to the progression of Susto's music.

susto, sustoisreal, soda bar

susto, sustoisreal, soda bar

"2017 is probably going to be a busy year for us" Osborne said of Susto's future. "We'll hopefully do some more support touring and finalize some talks with labels to get a plan together to release the record." More than a band, Susto are just a group of friends who enjoy playing music together and it shows during their live performance. Most of them share vocal duties and switch instruments throughout their set. Their polished instrumentation is punctuated by Osborne's Southern croon paired with his introspective lyrics.

susto, sustoisreal, soda bar

It's hard to describe Susto to someone who has never heard them, mainly because they borrow influences from everything from americana to folk to country and sprinkle dreamy flourishes as the cherry on top. Do yourself a favor and check out their bandcamp page and listen to their first album. Keep an eye out for their second album coming late 2016/early 2017.

Have you ever heard of Susto? Did you attend Stagecoach Festival? I'd love to know in the comments below.

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