Highly Suspect’s ‘Ice Cold Winter Tour’ Brings the Heat to St. Louis

Fans rejoice as Highly Suspect wraps up their headlining U.S. tour


Abby Gillardi/Wikimedia Commons

Lead singer Johnny Stevens belts during a 2014 performance in St. Louis. He remarked during the most recent show, “St. Louis has always felt like home.”

Kay Copeland, Co-Editor-in-Chief of The Ledger

Live music fans in St. Louis, Mo. have a reputation for their passion and energy, and rock group Highly Suspect certainly experienced this first-hand during their sold-out show at The Pageant on March 2. Lead vocalist Johnny Stevens paused between songs to express his appreciation, gazing out at the crowd and declaring, “St. Louis has always felt like home.”

Highly Suspect, originally from Cape Cod, Mass., started as a humble cover band but have since become a 3x Grammy-nominated group that shows no signs of slowing down. They recently headlined the U.S. leg of the “Ice Cold Winter Tour” with a UK leg planned for September, and will also be supporting established artists Muse and Evanescence on tour this April.

The tour’s sole opening act was supposed to be Dead Poet Society, but a change was made to the lineup mere hours before the St. Louis show. Silly Goose, a novice group that had been following Highly Suspect around the country and playing impromptu shows in parking lots, was granted a 20-minute set by the band. Silly Goose took full advantage of the opportunity, playing to an audience of more than 2,000 people, starting and joining multiple mosh pits, all while expressing their gratitude to Highly Suspect for the life-changing experience.

Following both opening acts, venue workers set up the stage for Highly Suspect. (Rylee Dreisewerd)

The opening acts had already set a high bar with their electric performances, but when Highly Suspect took the stage with a 15-track setlist (plus a 2-track encore), the crowd’s energy reached a fever pitch. While the band only played four songs from their newest album, “The Midnight Demon Club,” they showcased their versatility and wide-ranging appeal, keeping the audience on their toes with each new song.

Juggernauts like “My Name Is Human” and “Lydia” were instant fan favorites of the night, but it was the more stripped-back tracks such as “Arizona” and “Serotonia” that really allowed the crowd to savor the power of live music. Highly Suspect also brought some fresh sounds to the mix with their new singles “Ice Cold” and “Natural Born Killer,” which added a refreshing synth pop-rock vibe to the sonically heavy setlist.

In a world where live music has been sorely missed, Highly Suspect’s St. Louis show was a reminder of just how transformative a great concert can be. The band’s passion and energy were palpable, infecting the crowd with a sense of joy and unity that will be remembered long after the final notes fade away.