Thursday, February 5, 2015

The Cringe at Irving Plaza

John Cusimano
While John Cusimano was in high school on Long Island, New York, he formed a garage band that he says sounded so bad that it made people cringe. Now 47 years old, he is a Manhattan-based lawyer, television producer, and husband to television's celebrity chef Rachael Ray, but continues to seek his stride in the music industry. He recalled his youthful experience by naming his current band the Cringe. Over the past 10 years, the Cringe has recorded four albums, the most recent being 2012's Hiding in Plain Sight. With Cusimano on vocals, guitar and keyboard, the New York City-based rock quartet presently includes guitarist James "Roto" Rotondi, bassist Jonny "Blaze" Matais and drummer Shawn Pelton.

At Irving Plaza tonight, the Cringe mixed the guts of traditional rock and roll with trimming of grunge and alternative rock. It made for a hard-rocking, blues-kissed set of original songs showcasing Cusimano's heartfelt vocals and savvy songwriting skills. With these commanding vocals in front, the Cringe's crunching riffs hooked into mid-tempo and up-tempo rockers, much like many successful 1990s radio rock bands. Driving and melodic, artful and aggressive, the set had its heady moments and its thrash moments. The Cringe offered a little bit of everything that the average rock fan craves.

Visit the Cringe at