The fearsome punk foursome released their debut album, Hunks (available now on Retro Futurist) to an absolutely packed house. They also did it right. For seven measly bucks, fans got a great bill, as well as a free copy of the album. It was the cheapest show in town, and one of the best.
It was also the cray boys’ first (real) show back in Savannah since their first ever month-long tour that took them to the likes of Austin and elsewhere.
CBL was tight on Friday. They spanned through all 17 tracks on the new album, plus a couple more, like weathered rock veterans.
It’s always amazing to watch frontman Josh Sterno in action. His wild stage presence has also ways been the center of their live shows. Probably more impressive on Friday was his ability to stay on point all night. Whether on his knees in a swarming mosh pit, surfing above said pit, or with the microphone chord strangling him, he hit every lyric without a miss.
I was fortunate to get an advance listen to Hunks. I had trouble turning it off during the week. It’s a solid punk album and a pretty stellar debut for the young band.
It’s not all that surprising though. If you frequent the music scene, you’ve probably seen CBL at least a dozen times in the last year. They play a lot. For Hunks, they went into the studio with Savannah’s patriarch of metal, Kylesa’s Phillip Cope. Couple their insatiable songwriting ethic and performance panache with Cope’s expertise, and you’re left with a badass punk record that’s sure to garner some attention.
Due to a trivia game that ran a little later than I anticipated, I missed Friday’s opening act, Garden Giant. However, I did arrive just in time for Curb Dogs. I was little hesitate when I saw Curb Dogs setting up. I wasn’t sure if their particular brand of rock would fit the night’s bill well, but I was pleasantly wrong. Dudes absolutely rocked.
I’ve seen Curb Dogs a couple of times, but I forgot they have a bit of experimental sound weaved into their pretty straight-forward indie rock. Which was a nice compliant to the next act, as well as CBL.
The now legendary (?) Sins of a Godless Man followed. For some unknown reason, this was my first experience with Greg Rettig’s longtime Savannah band.
After the first couple of tunes, I thought, “Oh this is sort of 90’s alt-rock like Curb Dogs sometimes echoes. It’s pretty cool that we’ll get a dose of the 90’s before CBL’s 80’s influenced punk.” Then Rettig made a joke about them sounding like a 90’s rock band, and I thought if I write about this show I shouldn’t mention that thought I just had. (oops.)
Really though, Sins is a lot more. They incorporated so many different genres and feels in the set, I lost track. It’s just damn good rock ’n’ roll. Garage-punk-metal-experimental-bluesy rock? Sure. Point is, they are a loud, solid rock band and were a great opener for the boys in bags.
I assumed a packed CBL show would mean a wild mosh pit. My assumption was absolutely correct and I was thankful I took refuge on higher ground with hissing lawns photog and writer Tom Cartmel, whose photos accompany this post. Also, Tom is my good luck charm. If I stand next to him, it’s usually a pretty good show.
The pit was wild. At some point, Sterno decided he wanted to start a soul train line. I am pretty sure that most of the kids down there had no idea what he was talking about. According to his instructions, they parted per the tradition, but as Sterno finished his first round through, the flood gates of sweaty bodies collapsed around him and several found themselves trapped in a tangle of microphone cord. Everyone escaped with their dignity in tact for the most part.
If you didn’t get a copy of Hunks, it should be available in the coming days here. There will probably be physical copies at Graveface Records as well. (here’s the address, if you don’t know.) A vinyl and tape version will follow in the coming months.
I think it’s safe to say we’re all pretty excited for CBL, and excited to see where they go.
Oh, but wait, punk is dead. Right? I dare you to validate that argument.
Larry Jack and Petee braved the pit all night!