CUSSES put an emphatic exclamation on their return to Savannah in early February, headlining a boisterous live show for the first time in over a year at The Jinx.

Exactly one month after their return, Savannah's venerated hard-rock trio will play their third show at the 2017 Savannah Stopover Music Festival. It will be the band's third Stopover appearance after a show in 2015 and at the first festival in 2011.

"Stopover is like what SXSW used to be and probably will never be again," frontwoman Angel Bond said. "It's great to be part of something again that we were a part of at its creation stage and to see how much it has evolved."

In late 2015, CUSSES announced a break from playing live and touring. After a year off, out of the blue, they announced a comeback show. Bond returned to the band's home in Savannah after a year in Los Angeles and drummer Brian Lackey ventured back from North Carolina.

Although they were separated geographically, the group stayed in touch and eventually, it was the music that brought them back together.

Guitarist Bryan Harder is the project's melody maker. For about 20 years, he and Lackey have been playing together and worked out a rather unusual conversation style between the drums and guitars that translates as a riff-driven, audacious wall of sound. Bond adds her formidable vocals to the conversation, completing the trio's brazen, hard-hitting rock 'n' roll.

"We have tons of material," Harder told Do Savannah in early February. "You pick up where you left off and it was pretty easy. I think we're the type of people that hold on to the good and kind of forget the bad. The feeling is awesome and you kind of want to take it and run with it. Playing the type of music we left off with. The material is not the problem. It's more of the time and energy. Life gets in the way of the fun stuff."

The trio cemented their return at the early February show with several new tunes and staples off their self-titled debut album, playing to a packed house for well over an hour.

"We love being back in this amazing community," Bond said. "It's like no other. The welcoming back in February blew us away! We're ready for more and super stoked to play Stopover again."

Their second album, "Golden Rat," hasn't been released publicly yet, but the trio has been playing songs live from the album. In 2015, they self-released "Here Comes the Rat," a four-track EP of material from the forthcoming second album.

"Golden Rat" was funded by a highly successful Kickstarter campaign. Once they album was pressed, it was released to the individuals who helped fund the album through the crowd-sourcing site.

"At the end of the day, for people to pre-buy an album these days is amazing," Bond told Do Savannah in February. "It was a lot of work. I am still in awe of how much support we got from it and how much we were able to raise. There's still a lot of life behind it. We're still going to put it out there. We're just piecemealing it out there according to what we can afford and what feels right."

One week before Stopover, CUSSES got some great news. They were chosen from an online contest to open for legendary New Jersey rock band Bon Jovi at the FedEx Forum on March 16 in Memphis, Tenn. 

"We believe in the music scene as one big family of artists helping one another succeed," CUSSES said on their Facebook page. "This is the largest scale version of what we live by. This is a priceless opportunity!"  According to Bon Jovi's website, Jon Bon Jovi announced in January an "opening act contest" to give up-and-coming bands the opportunity to open for the band in areas across the nation. Bands had to submit an audition video online to be considered. Live Nation chose 10 finalists and Bon Jovi's management selected the contest winners from a shortlist.  "We are beyond thrilled to be given such a great chance to share a night with an amazing artist," CUSSES said on Bon Jovi's website. "We will remember this time for years to come. We never thought in a million years we'd be on the same stage." 


11 p.m. March 10

Congress Street Social Club, 411 W. Congress St.