THE FIRST time I saw Cusses, I walked out with a bloody nose.
It was one of the most oppressively hot summers Savannah has recently seen. Vocalist Angel Bond, her hair a dark, close pixie cut then, peeled off her shirt and flung it to the side of the stage midway through their set.
“Y’all don’t make fun of me,” she quipped on the mic.
Most of the audience soon followed her lead as the crowd churned to something unlike anything Savannah had heard before—the primal, raw, danceable tangle of Brian Lackey’s drums and Bryan Harder’s guitar, doing all the work of a six-string and bass together, and Bond’s vocals—clear and resolute and roughed-up with total command of the room.
It was packed, it was impossibly sweaty, and you could not stand still. You just couldn’t.
The crowd danced and moshed and screamed and somewhere in there I got clocked in the face and walked home in a soaking wet tank top crusted in blood, ears ringing, grinning so hard my cheeks hurt.
We were all hooked.
I had heard Cusses before that night—we both practiced at 12 Below, now Low Watt Recording Studios (that door to the right of Flying Monk). With individual practice spaces that bands could rent out, it was a diverse, small-but-mighty scene in 2009: Cusses crushing it in one room with a mariachi band next to them, my folk band down the hall, right next door to Sins of Godless Men (née Howler).
Savannah’s grown and changed in those few years; so have the bands and musicians, Cusses among them. They’re calling their Saturday performance a “farewell for now” show as members head out to explore new paths in life.
“We’re going through changes,” Bond shares. “We’ll still push forward and see where Cusses can go. We want to keep moving and growing and pushing ourselves as people and musicians in that vein.”
Just a few days after the Jinx show, Bond will return to Los Angeles (City of Angels, indeed), where she and Lackey lived before moving to Savannah.
Lackey is working in North Carolina with his family for the time being, while Harder will remain in Savannah with his wife and children.
Bond lived in L.A. for almost three years previously and is interested to see how things have changed since she moved.
“There’s a good rock scene,” she says of her future home.
“But there’s a huge electronic scene, too. I feel like I’m going to learn a lot more when I get out there and see friends.”
In addition to getting back into set dressing and art department work, she plans on exploring new musical projects, as well.
“I used to do a lot of soul music,” Bond says. “Electronic, too; I’ve got a couple of ideas. Brian and I used to do electronic music, and I’m thinking about doing another side project as well.”
Earlier this year, Cusses released an EP, Here Comes the Rat, featuring four songs off their long-awaited Golden Rat LP. Bond says the plan right now is to release “Critical,” a song written for Robyn Reeder and Igor Fiksman, as a single with an accompanying video.
The band’s considering following that up with an EP of the rest of the Golden Rat tracks.
“We’re both going to come back here as much as we can to write and practice with Harder,” Bond says. “We’re still working on future tours and licensing.”
As much as Savannah will feel the loss of two residents who spearheaded a new wave of DIY spaces, encouraged young bands, and brought a slew of out-of-town talent to the area, Bond assures she’ll be back to visit and that Savannah will always be Cusses’ hometown.
“Savannah’s always been our home, and we wouldn’t be who we are without it,” she attests. “I want to make sure everybody knows how grateful we are to have this community, and it’s going to be a really hard for me to leave this community that shows so much love and support.”
The scene looks much different than it did when Cusses formed, and Bond’s thrilled to see what Savannah’s future holds.
“It really excites me as it goes and changes tremendously,” she says. “I think Savannah just keeps getting better and better: more music, more and more people involved in it. It’s such a special community to be a part of, full of so many creative people who want the best for this community.
“For me, being in Savannah has definitely helped me come into my own. I still have stage fright, but when I first started, I was extremely shy and insecure. It’s definitely helped me just being in this environment and support; it helped us all grow and push forward.”
Though the show will be bittersweet, Bond stresses that it’s not goodbye, just ‘see you later.’
“We’re going to be playing a long set, a lot of oldies,” she promises. “We really just want to see a lot of our friends before we head out on our next adventures. It’s a farewell for now, not forever; we’ll definitely be back. This is always our home.”
Cusses, Culture Vulture
When: Saturday, November 14 @ 10 p.m.
Where: The Jinx