All photos by Courtney Tharp.
The crowd fills in slowly, baited by the sounds of guitar reverb. The depth of the stage at O’Brien’s Pub in Allston, MA makes it difficult to get a good look at drummer Stefanie Zaenker, but her volume and tenacity make up for it. D.C. rockers Caustic Casanova start the set abruptly and set a fast-paced yet melancholic tempo. The band is a bit heavy-handed on the reverb level pouring from the amps but sometimes make it work with low, growling instrumental songs. Bassist Francis Beringer fills in lead vocals, occasionally roaring lyrics into the microphone. The exact words involved in said lyrics is uncertain as they get buried under the cacophony in almost every song.
Caustic Casanova’s instrumental talent shines through during their show. Guitarist Andrew Yonki’s fingers fly over the frets, showing off some genuine technical skill. He looks like he’s having the most fun onstage. With the lack of lyrics, the band burrows into the melodies of each song, giving it energy and emotion, but still often causing a headache. Their collective sound comes off as angry yet coordinated, and what little words Beringer sings blend in gracefully with the ups and downs of the rhythm section’s harmonies. By the end of the night, the crowd has dwindled to a mere 15 humans, all loudly applauding Caustic Casanova. The band gives a warm shoutout to the tour’s promoter, start packing up their instruments, and the reverb finally begins to fade.
THE GIST: Caustic Casanova played an aggressive and melodic show but the amount of reverb severely took away from the enjoyment.