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Athens, Atlanta, Savannah rock bands converge at The Jinx

 

Athens, Atlanta, Savannah rock bands converge at The Jinx

26 Sep 2017

Georgia rock music, especially heavier metal and punk-influenced rock, is experiencing a resurgence in the underground.

The Jinx will host a triple bill that is years in the making and spotlights the varying amalgams of metal, punk and rock embedded in the collective sound of one of rock ’n’ roll’s most influential states.

Athens’ Vincas and Atlanta’s Big Jesus have tried to connect individually with Savannah’s CUSSES for years, but have yet to share a bill. CUSSES reached out to them both recently and this killer, three-band, all-Georgia bill was born. Unlike the usual late start times at The Jinx, CUSSES promises a hard 9:30 p.m. showtime. Be there.

“We played with Vincas not too long ago, but this is our first show with CUSSES,” Big Jesus frontman Spencer Ussery said. “We’ve been trying to play with them for years now.”

“We’ve played with Big Jesus one time in Atlanta, pretty recently,” Vincas frontman Chris McNeal said. “It was most excellent. We’ve been trying to play with CUSSES for years.”

Local favorites back from break

In February, CUSSES played a reunion show after taking a year-long break. Almost immediately after reforming in Savannah, they began writing new material. In a highly successful first year back, they earned an opening spot for Bon Jovi in Memphis and toured with Joy Formidable.

The hard-rock trio of Angel Bond, Bryan Harder and Brian Lackey has been sitting on a second studio album for several years now. The album was funded by a Kickstarter effort and was released exclusively to those supporters. The band has spent a considerable amount of energy shopping the album to labels, but decided to go ahead and self-release “Golden Rat” this December.

“The stuff we’re writing now is really good,” Bond said. “So it’s not like these are the final songs we’ll write. We just want to get it out there. We’re halfway through the third album.”

Early next year, CUSSES will hit the studio to record the new album. They’re hoping for a late winter/early spring tour to test the new material. They are already dropping new tracks into their current set list.

“I am excited about this one called ‘Hollywood Light,’” Bond said of the new material. “It’s about my transition, leaving for a year and stuff. It’s soft and gets big. It’s a metal soul song. You’re going to hear three to four new songs off the new album. A couple of old classics we’ve been playing for a long time, and a lot of stuff off ‘Golden Rat’ that people haven’t heard.”

Atlanta riffs and rhythm

Big Jesus is the brainchild of Ussery, who sings and plays bass. Ussery formed the rock band about seven years ago with rhythm guitarist C.J. Ridings in Atlanta. Big Jesus has gone through six drummers in as many years and added lead guitarist Thomas Gonzalez. They garnered a considerable amount of attention for their 2016 debut album, “Oneiric,” released on Mascot Label Group.

The album caught the attention of Good Charlotte brothers Joel and Benji Madden, who have taken the band under their wing as managers. Behind shoegaze nods, fuzzed-out heavy riffs and a high-octane rhythm section, Big Jesus has toured extensively and earned a regular following.

Big Jesus is in the process of writing a follow-up to “Oneiric” and are hoping to hit the studio early next year. The show in Savannah is a one-off for the band while they take a small break from touring to write. Big Jesus played locally in May 2015 with Atlanta’s Brother Hawk and Bear Fight! from Savannah. Ussery admits their Savannah debut was a wild introduction to the scene.

“That show at The Jinx was crazy for us,” Ussery said. “It so happened that night, Savannah was trying to break the world record for the largest pub crawl. It was wild. It was a freak show. There was so many people there.

“It was our first Savannah show and The Jinx is full. We’d finish a song and the roar from the crowd surprised us. It was a nice introduction to Savannah.”

Noise-rockers from Athens

Vincas played their debut Savannah show earlier this year with Atlanta’s Illegal Drugs at El-Rocko Lounge. McNeal, bassist and vocalist, began the noise-rock band in Athens pretty much on his own. In the beginning he had trouble finding people who appreciated obscure influences like The Cramps, Suicide and Scientists. Then McNeal found guitarist Scott Kviklys. The two bonded over that early noise, punk-driven, grunge sound, staying up late nights getting drunk and listening to records.

“I remember asking someone, it kind of sounds like The Birthday Party, and they’re like what the hell is that?” McNeal recalled. “Scott knows that stuff. It took us about six months of hanging out and playing together for us to get that first record going. Some songs that weren’t even on that record were strange sounding. It took us a minute to gel, but once we did, it’s been solid.”

Vincas released their second album, “Deep in the Well,” last year. The 11-track, noise-rock beast of an album is trademarked by swampy, fuzzed-out-guitar-riffs, thick bass lines, all topped by vocals that fluctuate from Elvis/Nick Cave swoons to Iggy Pop cries.

“Scott and I spent so many hours listening to (The Stooges’) ‘Funhouse,’” McNeal said. “It’s a weird version of all those bands’ ideas put together, that molded us.”

This triple-bill is a rare chance to see three excellent Georgia rock bands together. Show up at 9:30 p.m. Don’t sleep on the openers.

IF YOU GO

What: CUSSES, Big Jesus, Vincas

When: 9:30 p.m. Sept. 29

Where: The Jinx, 127 W. Congress St.

Cost: $10 in advance, $13 at the door; 21 and older

Info: cussesmusic.com, bigjesus.net, vincas.bandcamp.com

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