Boulder, CO — “Rearview,” the Bad Suns song from the album Language & Perspective, is a great song. Great song, but in life Christo Bowman, Ray Libby and Gavin Bennett don’t seem to be spending much time looking back. They’re rising stars, more precisely rising suns. Their success is due to an incredible work ethic. They’re touring, writing and recording continually. As nonstop as they’re moving, the three are taking things in stride and as they come. They possess a great maturity as a band and as artists. According to Christo, “it’s really cool, we definitely don’t take it for granted. It’s always something we’ve been working towards and we’ll continue to work and push forward. It’s really great.” They’re forward focused and so is their music.
The first time they played in Colorado it was to two hundred something people at the Larimer Lounge. Each time they come back the crowds grow. From selling out the Bluebird to this latest visit, originally booked at the Fox, they had to be moved to the Boulder Theater. Gavin says, “it’s really interesting because we were at Bluebird not too long ago and now we’re back, not too far away at a venue double the size and it’s sold out too. It’s surreal. It’s exciting you know.”
They’re a rocket ship of talent, not just a celestial body as their name implies. They’re not bad, they’re good. Releasing Language & Perspective in 2014, which they recorded in three chunks. They recorded their second album Disappear Here in two chunks taking time out to tour. Christo said of the process, “back in the day bands would put out records every year and it’s kind of impossible to do that now. Things are so different. We try and put out music as regularly as possible. I think every two years is something good to shoot for.” Talking about recording Disappear Here, Christo says, “We got back from that tour and at that time we felt as though we were operating at a new creative peak. It was really exciting for us and things were coming quicker than they usually would.”
Surreal is the word all three use to describe the experience they’ve had so far, but it’s clear talking with them they work hard to make music that’s meaningful. The fans are connecting with their genuine talent. In response to their influences Christo said, “we are at the end of the day a rock band.” Having Bad Suns pinned to bands of the 1980’s is short sighted. It may be in their rearview, it may be that they are “inspired and invigorated” as Christo put it, but they’re looking ahead. He says, “we moved into a house together in April in Los Angeles and we’re in the process of building a recording studio. We’ve been demoing and writing songs. When we get back from this tour we plan to really kick that in gear. Working, moving towards whatever happens next.” Their music is incredibly inspired and meaningful. They don’t shy from important themes, but they also embody fun in their lyrics and youthful joyous moments.
Discussing writing “Salt,” Christo says, “I had a friend who was dealing with gender dysphoria. That was brand new to me, I was 17 at the time, it was my best friend growing up from when we were in elementary school. It was a really emotional time for me, as well as, for them. A lot of conversations were had and that was definitely what was going on in my mind at the time.” Ray added, “we get to end a lot of our shows with that song. It feels celebratory I suppose.”
Christo says about playing live, “I think we’re very fortunate that the audience seems to be very receptive to the bulk of our material. There are definitely certain songs which are always going to pop off.” Ray says, “Off She Goes,” one of his favorite to play live right now, “it starts off kind of slower. It exists in a kind of more dynamic part of the set. The energy’s a little bit lower, but then that song, when it kicks in, it really kind of explodes. That’s always fun to do live.” The three play well together and drummer Miles Morris holds the beat.
At a Bad Suns concert the album title Disappear Here begins to feel more than words on a record sleeve, it may be an invitation to inclusion. If you’re in the crowd, you’re one of us and the “us” is whoever you are. It’s not disappearance at all, its appearance of your true self. Christo says, “we’ve been really lucky that the fans and the people coming to the shows have been quite a bit receptive to the new album and they’ve been singing along to every single song. It’s been blowing us away every night.”
They enjoy playing Colorado. Ray says, “we love Colorado, Denver’s great, this is our first time here in Boulder. It’s like a mountain city. It’s not like West Coast. It’s definitely not East Coast …It’s kind of it’s own, there aren’t many other cities on a similar latitude, it’s kind of a stand alone… it’s cool, unique vibe. I really like it.”
The fans seem to like them too, lining up around the block to get in to the theater two hours before the show. They got a great show. Bad Suns are energetic in the altitude and don’t slow down or get tired. At one point, Christo climbed right in the crowd continuing to perform. He never missed a note. Bad Suns played almost all of both records and ended the night with encores of “Rearview”, “Heartbreaker” and “Salt.” Christo says, “it’s been incredible. When we headlined Denver on the Language and Perspective Tour we played the Larimer Lounge which is like two hundred and fifty people. This is our first time in Boulder. Twelve hundred people. It’s a bit of a leap. It feels like a checkpoint.” If he’s checking his head, he’s okay for launch. As grounded as he is, the Bad Suns perform in outer space.
Ray says, “I think we’re in a good place. It’s really encouraging. It’s great to do it. It’s like three best friends.” This is a captivating rock band, a group of hard workers, incredibly talented and creative. The Bad Suns wrote two albums with the speed some may write two songs and they’re polished. They’re touring now, they’re writing now and looking forward to the next thing they record and release. They’re on a intergalactic trajectory. Find yourself dancing along to “Swimming in the Moonlight,” at one of their shows or on recording. They’re currently traveling beyond the moon to success because of how close their attitudes are to earth.