The Shaniqua Brown, Cusses, Bully Pulpit, Hey Rocco
The Pour House
Shaniqua Brown played their final show on Friday at the Pour House, after just a few years of stomping around Charleston and beyond. They went out in the best way possible, in mid-orgasm, snarling and spitting in the face of the end.
They got a CPMA award for Metal/Punk Band of the Year back in October, probably because people couldn't figure out where to put them. They're not really punk or metal, but loud and intense, nonetheless. The opening bands shared a common ferocity, each in their own flavors.
Youngsters Hey Rocco opened up with a time shifting indie sound that I'll just call flöppinpünkt. They seemed to come with their own crowd, drawing from a high school cadre of x-marked teens. They've got a solid emotive sound and will probably be one of our next breakout bands.
Riff monsters Bully Pulpit cranked it up with a more straightforward, Stooges-inspired, rock set. Lead singer Edward Enword (a.k.a. Danny Kavanaugh) had a Mick Jagger swagger all over the stage.
When it came to the Cusses, I got worried. They're so good, and lead singer Angel Bond's intensity and vulnerability are so magnetizing, I worried that no one could possibly follow them. The two times I've seen them, it's been with Shaniqua Brown. It's not a competition though. Bond and Rachel Kate Gillon are musical step-sisters, born from PJ Harvey with different dads.
Bond pranced back and forth, holding perfect tone even at the top of her lungs. The Savannah-based band put on a fast, energizing show that raised the bar pretty high for Shaniqua Brown's swan song. Drummer Brian Lackey pulled a Tommy Lee a few times with crossed drumsticks, and he even walked out to the edge of the stage for a kind of bow.
The Shaniqua Brown took the stage mostly all smiles. They were ready to have fun with it. They didn't waste any time cranking it up and getting the crowd stoked.
It was an unsentimental assault on the Pour House crowd. Gillon thanked the crowd many times, but rewarded them with a snarling menace. She took turns picking people out of the crowd and focusing her growl on them.
Guitarist Thomas Concannon delivered a few blistering solos at the edge of stage as they marched through their brief catalog. All the band members were right up front — a picket line of distortion. A kind of pit opened up a few times in the crowd. Dubious attempts at crowdsurfing yielded no falls, but a few close calls.
Near the end of the show, members of the opening bands joined them onstage for a rowdy singalong. Everybody was goofing on the number of people on stage.
At the tail end of the set, something went wrong and there was some tension. It got to the point where the whole band left the stage, leaving Gillon alone. She smiled through it and took the time to thank the crowd, saying, "We wouldn't be here if it wasn't for all of you".
They regrouped and came back onstage. Most of the crowd thought it was an encore. Bassist Denis Blyth later said he had messed up on one of the last songs, but it was unclear if that was the sole cause of the problem.
Regardless, the Shaniqua Brown pulled off an amazing and, yes, volcanic, last performance that gave new meaning to "live fast, die young". They played fast and now they're gone. Long live the Shaniqua Brown.