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Susto at The Bluebird Theater show preview 

click to enlarge Susto, with Whitacre, Friday, Aug. 3, 9 p.m., bluebirdtheater.net. - MELISSA TOMS
  • Melissa Toms
  • Susto, with Whitacre, Friday, Aug. 3, 9 p.m., bluebirdtheater.net.
Susto is a term long used to describe the Latin American malady in which the spirit is said to separate from the body. It’s also the adopted name of a South Carolina five-piece who rose up from semi-obscurity last year, thanks to their critically acclaimed sophomore album & I’m Fine Today as well as a national tour that encompassed 55 cities, 17 of which found them opening for The Lumineers. Of the two bands, Susto is the more adventurous. They’ve earned comparisons to latter-day Wilco, and are equally adept at broaching serious subjects like “Gay in the South” and more whimsical fare like “Chillin’ on the Beach With My Best Friend Jesus Christ.” The band is led by singer-songwriter Justin Osborne, who’s had a few acid-induced out-of-body experiences of his own. He wrote most of the lyrics for the group’s first album during an extended hiatus in Cuba. & I’m Fine Today finds his poetic lyrics continuing to mature, while the band’s arrangements have extended beyond Americana boundaries with the beguiling reggae of “Jah Werx” as well as an increasing use of strings, horns and synthesizers to fill out their studio sound. Onstage, expect an approach that’s more stripped-down, but no less engaging.

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