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    Caustic Casanova
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    I spend most of my time listening to music a few decibels south of heavy rock, but there is something cathartic about the primal energy of blazing electric guitars and throbbing drums that calls on my inner headbanger every now and then. Despite my shocking lack of a black t-shirt, I showed up at Zanzabar Sunday night to check out DC-area band Caustic Casanova and veteran label-mates, Kylesa, out of Savannah.

    CC took the stage in front of Kylesa's sprawling drum kits, making their first appearance in Louisville (they practiced pronouncing it). Refreshingly unpretentious, CC got down to business with the viper sting of "Snake in the Grass" -- unleashing bassist Francis Beringer's underworldly howling vocals. Guitarist Andrew Yonki and drummer Stefanie Zaenker are a powerhouse duo, providing all the ferocious, driving energy that propels the songs satisfyingly along paths that dip, switch, and build to thunderous climaxes.  

    For me, the thing that sets CC apart from a lot of heavy rock and metal bands is that their songs are so various -- they manage to surprise with different rhythms and textures, avoiding one continuous dark, thrummy sound that blurs from one song to another. There are touches from other genres while remaining true to the overall loud, relentless shred of doomy rock. I really love the demonic surge of "Quezalteca Deathswitch Blues" as well as the visceral punch of the fast and furious "Show Some Shame," from their upcoming album, Breaks. Their delivery is pretty flawless -- you hear the craft and care that have gone into the songs, which also feature some thoughtful, literate vocals. 

    Caustic Casanova provided an excellent tune-up for the crowd who arrived early for headlining band Kylesa, whose dual drummers kept me mesmerized pretty much the whole time. Perhaps it's something of a gimmick, but it's a highly successful one. Overall, I found Kylesa less interesting to my tastes than CC, but the air-strumming, head-bobbing crowd would undoubtedly disagree. 

    Kylesa

    Kylesa

    Stefanie Zaenker

    Caustic Casanova's Zaenker, whose hands are pretty much always a blur.

    [Photo Credits: Lee Burchfield]

    Selena Frye's picture

    About Selena Frye

    I'm a writer and editor living in Louisville since 1996. I'm originally from the Blue Ridge of Virginia.

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