Savannah Stopover has become one of the most fascinating music festivals in the south over the seven years that it has been active. The festival takes place in various bars and venues in downtown Savannah, Georgia and consists of musical acts who are making their way to Austin, Texas for South By Southwest. Not only does Stopover provide a great taste of the South By bar crawl mixed with musical festival environment for the American southeast, but it has become a prime place to see bands in club sized venues before they really take off. In years past the festival has seen the likes of Mac Demarco, Future Islands, Grimes, St. Lucia, DIIV, and St. Paul & The Broken Bones. And this year’s lineup is no exception to that.These are ten must-see acts for this year’s Stopover.
(Thursday, March 9 @ The Jinx [21+] 11:00 p.m.)
Carrying on the torch of the Riot grrrl movement that included bands like Sleater-Kinney and Bikini Kill, Daddy Issues is a trio from Nashville who bust down doors with their grunge based songs about millennial love lives and girls being able to do whatever they damn well please. They’re bound to get a crowd head banging and invested, with songs like “Unicorns & Rainbows (Boyfriend)” and “Ugly When I Cry” that combine distorted power chords and clear cut, down to earth feminist lyrics. Given the situation that American women find themselves in in 2017, Daddy Issues will be a can’t miss tidal wave of moshing and sociopolitical discourse.
JEFF the Brotherhood
(Thursday, March 9 @ The Jinx [21+] 12:00 a.m.)
One of this year’s Stopover headliners, JEFF the Brotherhood are two brothers from Nashville. In the same vein as acts like Ty Segall and Japandroids, JEFF the Brotherhood make gloriously distorted garage rock with tightly wound, Weezer-esque hooks. The brothers have been releasing albums since 2002, and have really come into their own over the years, with their standout album Zone having come out just last year. They are one of the more seasoned acts appearing at Savannah Stopover this year, having previously played festivals like Bonnaroo, Coachella, and Hangout. They are a must see this year for any fan of fuzz, garage rock, or just flailing your arms around as a form of dancing.
(Thursday, March 9 @ Wild Wing – 2nd Floor [21+] 11:30 p.m.)
Strike up another surfy, garage rock duo for Stopover’s Thursday night! Hockey Dad hails from the coastal town of Windang, Australia and make catchy jangle rock with flairs of distortion. In fact it may be safe to guess that Hockey Dad have spent some time listening to their Stopover bill-mates JEFF The Brotherhood. The pair of Zach Stephenson and Billy Fleming have gained a lot of traction over the last three years having toured with acts like Bass Drum of Death and an undercover hit in the form of “I Need a Woman” which is currently sitting above a million plays on Spotify.
(Friday, March 10 @ Club One [21+] 11:30 p.m.)
Technoself (2015) is one of the most musically diverse albums of the decade thus far, which makes sense considering that its creator has worked with artists that range from The Mars Volta to Flying Lotus. Deantoni Parks is an experimental drummer and producer who draws from hip-hop, electronic, progressive rock, and jazz and mixes it all together into one song. Just in the first three tracks on Technoself the listener gets touches of Death Grips, J Dilla and even Elvin Jones. His combination of sampling and drumming and his ability to sync the two together is bound to make his appearance at Savannah Stopover one to remember, especially as one of the lone “hip-hop” artists on the bill.
(Friday, March 10 @ The Jinx [21+] 10:00 p.m.)
Indie rock outfit Hoops have gained a lot of momentum over the last year thanks to their killer Hoops EP that was released last year along with a Pitchfork hyped single “Rules” that dropped earlier in February. The Indiana natives have perfected a silky smooth, bedroom pop style that consistently sounds like it was recorded in a soft focus dream sequence. It’s the kind of music that rings nostalgic even if you’re just hearing it for the first time. Songs like “Yeah” and “Give it Time” are full of laid back sensuality, while “Cool 2” and “Let’s Go” exude an IDGAF weekend afternoon swagger. All of it is tied together with glossy, War on Drugs style production that condenses tiny punches into every guitar pluck and drum hit. Hoops spent the Fall of 2016 touring with indie heavy hitters Whitney and have a new album titled Routines due out on May 5. So if you want to see Hoops before they become indie rock’s next big protegees, Savannah Stopover might be your best (and last) chance.
(Friday, March 10 @ Wild Wing – 2nd Floor [21+] 12:30 a.m.)
Artists who make throwback Soul music in the 2010’s are not really anything new. We’ve got Leon Bridges, JC Brooks & The Uptown Sound, and Vintage Trouble to name a few. What helps to separate Curtis Harding from the rest of the pack, who tend to stick to the early Motown sound as their primary source, is that Harding draws more from the darker soul of the late 60’s and early 70’s. Down to the cover of his 2014 album Soul Power that consists of a black and white photo of Harding shirtless and deeply pulling on a cigarette, he paints a clear picture that he’s not here to play games. Harding shows in moments like the lustfulness of “Castaway” and the regret of “Next Time” that for him, Soul isn’t a gimmick, it’s an art. That being said, he definitely has songs that can make you dance too, like his biggest track from Soul Power titled “Keep on Shining.” If you are someone who has never been to a Soul concert before and is looking to break that streak in 2017, Curtis Harding is a damn near perfect starting point.
(Friday, March 10 @ The Jinx [21+] 6:00 p.m.)
Wreckless Eric is a stand out amongst the up and coming nature of this year’s Savannah Stopover lineup. He is considered a kickstarter of the late 1970’s British punk/new wave scene was a staple member of Stiff Records, which at the time boasted the likes of Elvis Costello, Nick Lowe, and The Damned. He has been touring and releasing music since 1977 when he released his hit single “Whole Wide World.” The song has become a rough and tumble, yet heartfelt cornerstone of punk love songs over the last forty years. Today Eric tours solo and plays songs from all over his four decade old catalog that range, and you can read more about Wreckless Eric in an interview that CisternYard Radio conducted with him earlier this year.
(Saturday, March 11 @ Wild Wing – 2nd Floor [21+] 10:30 p.m.)
Tim Darcy is a member of Canadian post-punk group Ought, and he carries the band’s sound over to his solo project. He released his debut album Saturday Night this February and gave fans of Ought exactly what they wanted. He makes tight, guitar centered music and tends to (successfully) play with guitar feedback on songs like “Saturday Night”. His vocals can be reminiscent of the poetic monotone of Lou Reed or even the croon of Roy Orbison. On Saturday night, after a long three days of bar hopping and concerts, Darcy is sure to provide a less physically demanding, but still immersive show.
(Saturday, March 11 @ El-Rocko Lounge [21+] 10:00 p.m.)
Ian Sweet is an indie rock trio from New York who are currently riding the riptide of the two projects they released in 2016 (full album Shapeshifter and a self-titled EP). The band is fronted by singer Jillian Medford, whose sharp vocals are constantly twisting and turning over the course of a song, but consistently express a ton of emotion. She can shout and inflect sadness like nobody’s business. Jillian Medford alone is one of the most enticing performers of this year’s festival, but the presence of drummer Tim Cheney and bassist Damien Scalise make the prospect of seeing them live all the better. Their studio recordings convey a close knit band making some of the sweetest bedroom pop that’s come in the past year.
The Bones of J.R. Jones
(Saturday, March 11 @ The Jinx [21+] 4:00 p.m.)
It’s a little strange that the most southern sounding act of this year’s Stopover fest is from New York. But when you hear him play, that detail goes by the wayside. Half of the time, The Bones of J.R. Jones performs ancient sounding folk and bluegrass, the other half he plugs in and pours out booming electric guitar songs. Regardless of which sound he approaches a song with, one thing remains constant. It’s going to be dark, menacing, and unabashedly Americana. Songs like the banjo-carried “Bless Your Soul” and soft acoustic “Wedding Song” sound like they are being sung by an Appalachian ghost, while “The Heat” and “Hammers and Nails” shake with rhythmic stomps and claps behind violent electric guitar feedback. If you’re in Savannah on Saturday and you’re a fan of the Southern gothic, this is a must-see show.
Tickets for Savannah Stopover can be purchased here