EVERY YEAR, local musicians gear up for the busiest season of the year: Saint Patrick’s Day. Playing multiple two to three hour gigs in one day at various locales and toting drums, keyboards, and speakers through the busy streets can be grueling, but our Savannah professionals have the tradition down-pat and are ready to welcome the legions of partygoers. We chatted with pop-country band Lyn Avenue, funk-soul group Those Cats, Americana-bluesman Georgia Kyle, throwback rock 'n’ roll/’60s garage outfit The Hypnotics, and blues/rock/reggae songstress Danielle Hicks of Danielle Hicks & the Resistance about surviving and thriving Savannah’s banner holiday.
Make sure to get out, support our hardworking performers, throw some bucks in the tip jar, and give 'em a big round of applause this weekend; they’ve earned it!
Years playing St. Patrick’s Day weekend in Savannah:
Lyn Avenue: 4
Those Cats: 3
Georgia Kyle: 14
The Hypnotics: 3
Danielle Hicks: 3
What song really gets the crowd going?
Lyn Avenue: anything by Johnny Cash
Georgia Kyle: “Mary Jane’s Last Dance” by Tom Petty, “The Joker” by Steve Miller Band, and “Sweet Home Alabama” by Lynyrd Skynyrd
The Hypnotics: “The Twist” by Chubby Checker
Those Cats: “Pancakes” (original)
Danielle Hicks: “Shoop” by Salt N Pepa
What’s the wildest thing you’ve seen while gigging during St. Pat’s?
Those Cats: There was a person in the crowd dancing in what we remember being a green afro, and either a wrestling costume, or just a Speedo. That definitely takes the cake so far.
The Hypnotics: We saw someone drunk on River Street at 11 a.m. trip on the railroad track and hit his face on it. He bounced right back up, blood pouring down his face, and he blew his large, fake plastic horn, and kept it moving. A week after St. Patrick's Day, [Ford Natirboff, drums] saw someone still dressed in green, sparkly clothing drunkenly get off a public bus.
Danielle Hicks: A lady tried to give me her fishnets, off of her body. That was pretty wild and undesirable.
What’s the best part of playing the festivities?
Lyn Avenue: The crowds and the energy! And our bass player dyes his beard green.
The Hypnotics: The best part for us is our band being able to represent entertainment from Savannah to people who come from all over the states and the world. It's kind of an honor. But also it’s just a blast to play in front of such a large crowd.
Those Cats: The crowds are huge, and so receptive to music. It definitely gives another energy level to us as a band.
Georgia Kyle: People are happy. Everyone is happy and celebrating, and it is just fun. There is music everywhere, the parade, it is all good.
Danielle Hicks: The celebratory energy everyone shares! It's a huge party!
What’s the worst part?
Lyn Avenue: Parking and loading in equipment.
The Hypnotics: Getting through the city. We have walked a long way in the rain with some old guitars. Last year on the last day of the festivities, we played feeling like we were on the set of The Walking Dead. It was just like drunken zombies walking alone randomly, going to where they heard noise.
Those Cats: Loading into venues is a lot harder for us. Roads are blocked off, and traffic is typically backed up on most of the close streets. It usually makes setting up and breaking down a little more challenging, but it's always worth it.
Georgia Kyle: The crowds can sometimes make it a little complicated to get to the gig, but it hasn’t caused me to miss a gig yet.
Danielle Hicks: Moving speakers around.
What advice would you give folks who may be experiencing Savannah’s celebrations for the first time?
Those Cats: There will be lines everywhere, so if there's a specific place you want to go, try to get there early. Most of the bars hit capacity so it'll be one in/one out. Stay hydrated, too.
The Hypnotics: If it's your first St. Patrick's Day, go with the green drunken flow and have a great time. If it's not your first, then you must be crazy to stay in town.
Georgia Kyle: I think the city and the law enforcement do a great job, considering the crowds we get here. However, you need to understand that these folks, especially the police, may be under a great deal of stress. Think of how many people they are trying to keep safe. Have fun, but be mindful and don’t have too much fun, if you know what I mean!
Danielle Hicks: Be prepared to walk a good distance if you're in it for the day, and rest up!