SUSTO Brings “Ever Since I Lost My Mind” To The Troubadour The Emotional Resonance Of Justin Osbourne Was Palpable In West Hollywood
LOS ANGELES, CA- Fronted and formed by singer/songwriter Justin Osbourne back in 2012, SUSTO is a band based out of Charleston, South Carolina that started to get some serious critical attention with its 2017 sophomore album “I’m Fine Today”; an album that made its way on Billboard’s Independent and Heatseekers album charts. Earlier this year, SUSTO released their third studio album, produced by Ian Fitchuck, Ever Since I Lost My Mind (Rounder Records).
Ever Since I Lost My Mind is a fantastic album. If you’ve been following SUSTO for a while now, Lost My Mind is an album which shows some real growth and maturity as a songwriter from Justin. The album’s sonics still has all of the signature SUSTO elements (Justin’s gravelly emotive vocals on the more subdued cuts, the grungy-punk leaning jams, etc), but more than anything, there’s seems to be a real focus on the emotionality in the lyrics and plainspoken honesty of each line that’s sung.
“One look in your eyes
Fill me up with hope
It changes my mind
I’m not dead yet
No, I’m not dead yet
I am not dead yet”
“Weather Balloons” by SUSTO.
Currently on tour in support of the album (finishing up their domestic run on April 20th before heading out to Europe for a baker’s dozen of gigs in the UK), SUSTO stopped by Los Angeles to perform at the legendary Troubadour.
What I’ve always found interesting about SUSTO is where Justin got the inspiration for the band’s name. Based on some anthropological texts that I’ve read, “susto” is a culture bound syndrome found in Hispanic populations from Texas through Central America. The symptoms include apathy and depression and it is attributed (by the culture) to the soul (or a spirit) leaving the body. But don’t let the band’s name shape your expectations. If anything, Justin’s performance at The Troubadour was anything but apathetic or depression inducing. In fact, the experience was quite the opposite.
Performing music from his entire 3 album repertoire, with a particular focus on those songs featured on Lost My Mind, Justin was able to sing his musical testimonies with a subtle intensity that is at variance with his sleepy eyes and overall laid back demeanor. The intensity was particularly impactful when the songs focused on elements of pain or longing and the crowd would sing along in a hushed tone with Justin, making for what sounded like an eerie surround-sound like reverb.
There was something effortlessly cathartic about SUSTO’s live performance. It had that kind of intense emotional resonance that I got from watching Nirvana’s MTV unplugged performance (though, this performance obviously wasn’t “unplugged”). The connection between Justin, the music and the fans was strong.
Prior to the gig starting, I struck up a conversation with an older gentleman who drove up from San Diego to see SUSTO perform. He had brought his nephew who was visiting from the east coast was, and I asked him why he decided to make the long weekday drive up from San Diego to catch this gig. He simply told me that when a you find a songwriter as passionate as SUSTO, how could you not? Touché.