CUSSES at Caledonia on June 12

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On Friday night – well, Saturday morning, really – the Caledonia crowd was treated to some electrifying punk ‘n roll courtesy of Savannah quasi-locals CUSSES. The impossibly loud trio, made up of lead singer Angel, guitarist Bryan, and drummer Brian, played a no-muss-no-fuss set of L.A. glam rock with jagged industrial edges, and as with any good rock show, things got a little weird.

Like I said, these three sure made a racket. Every song saw Bryan headbanging to his axe, Brian’s arms swinging madly at his kit, and Angel convulsing and high-stepping about the stage. Corny as it may seem, the woman has literal moves like Jagger. She kicked and raged around like a punk rock Ke$ha (for the record, I’m positive I’m not the first to make that comparison), perfectly physically conveying the leather clad spunk in their music.

As omnipresent as punk may be at the Caledonia, CUSSES were also able to seamlessly blend their Black Flag influences with metal, hardcore and hair alike. Much of Bryan’s METZ-y riffage unironically drew from hair metal and stadium rock bombast (now would be a good time to mention Angel’s RATT shirt). “I’m Gonna Get You” feels like L.A. in the 1980’s, whereas “The Wait Is Over” sounds like Metallica’s bottom fell out.

But even metal from Georgia dabbles in performance art from time to time, and CUSSES were no exception. There were distortion jams and otherworldly time signatures; there was upside down cymbal playing; and there was a whole lot of intense eye contact. Nothing within five hours of Athens is without its experimental side.

Punk, rock, metal, glam, yada yada yada – the interesting thing about CUSSES was their ability to flirt with all those different genres without plunging into one too obviously. “Hey You” even approached pop at times, blasphemous as that may be, but it was all blended so well, trivial labels simply fell away. In short, CUSSES are like the fidgety ‘problem child’ at an elementary school – they may not seem like they fit into any particular category, and authority figures may be a little freaked out by ’em, but they’re destined to become the cool kid that everyone wants to hang with.

Though originally from Virginia, Kelsey recently graduated from the University of Georgia with a cavalcade of neat degrees. She's written for other sites like Wide Open Country, Half Past, Seeing Trees Music, The Cropper, InfUSion Magazine, and Blurt. Kelsey’s greatest weakness is a large bowl of pho, and though she doesn’t know it yet, her friends will soon host a soup intervention for her. In her spare time she enjoys exploring abandoned buildings, crafting dad-humor puns, collecting vintage key chains, writing long lists that utilize the Oxford comma, and acting like Larry David.

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