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Dancing In Cemeteries With Vision Video

A Study in Nouveau Southern Goth by Jonathan Moody

Photography by Grant Beecher

FOR MOST, Athens, Georgia is synonymous with an English bulldog, crowded frat parties, and other stereotypical college scenes that are pretty terrible metaphors for what it means to grow up. Beneath the outer crust (sponsored by short-shorts and fishing shirts), the magma of Athens has always teemed with the glowing heat of its music scene.

Known for pumping out legendary bands such as R.E.M., Widespread Panic, the B-52s, and the Drive-By Truckers, Athens incubates a culture of curiosity and openness to all types of bands. What you don’t see by looking at the bright lights of the Georgia Theater with those big names sprawled across the marquis is the people wandering beneath it. Sometimes these locals prefer the Townie bars or house parties with blinds drawn and smoke wafting aimlessly through dim light but don’t stray from the love and acceptance that is the carotid artery of the scene.

Vision Video is one band made from such people (though I won’t guarantee they’ve ever been to a Widespread Panic show or a Townie Bar). A goth pop-punk band roaming the underground scene of Athens, Vision Video has infectious rhythm and harmony that would make Robert Smith’s (of The Cure fame) hair relax.

The band will be in town for HalfAth on Friday at 7:25 p.m. at Ships of the Sea. Though Savannah’s punk scene is mostly underground now that the Jinx is closed, Vision Video doesn’t necessarily see that as a bad thing. They told me that they “think it's important to recognize the value of having an underground scene. [The scenes] have a lot of strength in community and there's something that is inexorably authentic about those kinds of scenes. But I think it's also important to get the word out about local shows so that musicians can sustain themselves to continue to get their art out there. Community support is everything for making the small scene go big.”

Savannah also has a dear place in the heart of lead singer Dusty Gannon due to its role as a military town (and its cemeteries). Vision Video’s newest release, “Inked in Red”, is an emotional and gripping trek through the pains, downfalls, and mental battles he fought when he left his service in the military. Though he served, he reclaimed his individuality after he left, and told me, “I think it's important for military members to remember not to lose their identity to the military completely. It's their job and it's a large part of your life when you're in the military, but it's important to remember to have a personality outside of that.”

Inked in Red has everything you want in a goth pop album. Vision Video mixes the emotion of reality through the lens of the campiness of an ‘80s horror movie, dumps a bucket-full of blood on it, dances 'til it coagulates. Keys and vocalist Emily Fredock spooks up the music over the consistent drone of bass player of Dan Geller. Drummer Jason Fusco keeps the time on the drumset and Dusty Gannon accents the 4-piece with his 6-string.

A paramedic himself, Gannon didn’t imagine that they’d be playing any festivals this soon after COVID-19 protocols were enacted. You wouldn’t expect it from the lead singer of a goth band, but he’s incredibly optimistic about the resurgence of live music in the near future. “Looking back to December through early February it felt like it was an apocalyptic situation, so this is giving me a lot more faith that we're looking at the beginning of the end of this pandemic.” We sure hope he’s right.

Gannon also promises “lots of goth pop music, makeup, dancing and general spooky fun” at the show at Ships of the Sea.

As you would expect from any great goth rock band, Vision Video doesn’t have huge plans to hit Tybee during HalfAth. While in town, they expect to stop by Bonaventure Cemetery, which is “one of their favorites that [they’ve] ever been to.”

Check out Vision Video at 7:25 p.m. on Friday, June 25th at Ships of the Sea during HalfAth. Wear your eyeliner and black and drink some beer or some blood, whatever suits your fancy.

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