LIVE REVIEW: Manray, Baby Baby and Cusses

by | Jan 1, 2012 | Concerts & Festivals, Reviews

WHERE: Drunken Unicorn – Atlanta, GA

WHEN: December 9, 2011

HIGHLIGHT: Singers screaming and jumping into the audience.  Guitarists jumping on people’s shoulders.  Yeah, it’s a party.

Most CD release parties in Atlanta consist of one-to-four openers, followed by the band of the hour rounding out the night. It’s not a bad set up, unless you’re the band “celebrating” your new album: trying to stay sober enough to play, trying to take this whole “party” seriously… But what if you want your album’s release party to be, y’know, a party? To celebrate their new album, Tournament, local heroes Manray did it right.

Cusses opened the night, revving up the audience just right. Manray reveled in the whipped crowd. Then Baby Baby took the stage and let the men of the hour cut loose and kick back. Cusses’ lead singer looked like Lisbeth Salander and sounded like a high-speed, glammed-up PJ Harvey. Jumping and shouting between drummer and guitarist, with a desperate innocence in her voice, she commanded the crowd – daring them to stand still.

After Cusses left the stage, Manray started with a bellow, “CHECK! CHECK! OCCUPY THE THUNDERDOME!!!” Piercing highs melted to singing mids, with their drummer placed front and center, pounding out triple heartbeats and smashing high hats. The rock and the irreverence built. Between songs the boys laughed and yelled about everything from professionalism to shots to prison sex, all while playing a set that had budding young mohawks, party girls, hipsters and even a couple of rockabilly kids all jumping and thrashing together.

Baby Baby ended the night in their swim trunks, pouring water on each other and the crowd, and bringing the party’s pitch up even higher. Their lead singer, Fontez Brooks, has been known to end a set hanging from the ceiling. When, however, you’re closing the night out for your friends’ CD release party, you gotta make it special. Anybody can get up in the rafters. But can anybody climb on the shoulders of the nearest audience member and continue to rock the hell out?  The guys in Baby Baby sure as hell did.

photos by photos by Lysa Fisher