SUSTO Leads the Way for the Cleopatra World Tour at Bankers Life
The Lumineers blew up several years back with their hit single “Ho Hey,” which took the airwaves by storm and defined the summer for many, and now their crazy accessible indie folk sound is making its way through arenas around the country. They may have been the headliners playing Bankers Life Fieldhouse last Friday night, but the most crucial part of the night, a solid opener, was the responsibility of Charleston’s SUSTO.
The South Carolina natives were barely on stage for half an hour, but in that brief time they got to play most of the tunes from their latest effort, & I’m Fine Today, which released back in January. The intensity of SUSTO’s set made those already present glad that they’d arrived early, even if they were few; the vast majority of spectators had not yet poured into the arena by the time Justin Osborne and company played their final note a little after 7:30, and that is a darn shame. Osborne fronted with his acoustic guitar for much of the set, but he did briefly pick up an electric for a more amplified feel part way through, including songs like the album opener “Far Out Feeling” and the lead single “Waves.”
Both electric jams translated quite well live, even if the former was missing the fantastic horn lines present on the album version. Other highlights for the quintet included the stellar “Jah Werx” (albeit in a different key) and my personal favorite, the powerful rocker “Gay in the South,” whose explosive guitar solo in the song’s bridge sounded just as I had hoped it to sound live. The only bummer to me about SUSTO’s set was that they neglected to play the roaring “Mountain Top,” but I kind of expected their setlist to be a little bit limited considering that they were the first act of the night.
Icelandic rockers Kaleo followed this up with a set of their own that was abrasive bluesy rock at times and subdued, almost folksy at others. Like their predecessor, Kaleo also played many of the cuts from their latest effort, which for them released last year. More importantly, they were able to keep the hype up for the headliners, with highlights from both ends of the sonic spectrum for them – the eerie “I Can’t Go On Without You” to open their set and the blistering Southern-tinged “No Good” about halfway through.
The Lumineers of course closed out the night with a rather extensive set, playing most of the tracks from each of their studio albums, in addition to a couple of covers, one a take on a Tom Petty classic and another on a Bob Dylan staple. With their captivating stage presence, it’s no wonder the trio is packing out arenas across the country. This was evident throughout their entire set, whether on the main stage or up on the suspended one in the center of the floor; frontman Wesley Schultz even ran out into the audience for a brief sing-along during “Ophelia.” Including their 3-song encore, the Denver-based folk rockers ended up playing an impressive 20-track set. By the end of the night, everyone was in a great mood, no matter how they had felt first stepping into the Fieldhouse.
Though The Lumineers were the main act for the night, SUSTO had the daunting task of starting things off with a bang, a tall order for any opener, and they were able to do just that. From there, everything else just fell right into place.