And so we come to it, the rockingest week of the year.
Some of the hottest independent bands and artists in America will be in town March 6-8 for the fourth annual Savannah Stopover Music Festival (Savannah Stopover to its friends). There are something like 100 shows over those three days, in various downtown venues. If you’re so inclined, you can walk the walk and catch a little (or a lot) of everything.
Herewith our second Stopover package for 2014 (if you missed last week’s issue, catch it online at connectsavannah.com. There’s some pretty cool stuff there).
All info, etc., is at savannahstopover.com.
At 5 p.m. Saturday, March 8, Hang Fire
Lead singer (and sole guitarist) Vlad Holiday will impale your heart with his upbeat, anthemic songs, which have very strong echoes of the best ‘80s synth-rock (keys and computerizing by Amanda Carl). The band, which has just signed with the Hold Steady’s label Washington Square, has an EP out (The Sidelines) and a couple of great tracks including “Caiti” and the uber-catchy and danceable “Don’t Look Back.” As for the name: Holiday says it “represents the general theme of the record and group. Our songs are hopeful, but the kind of hope that follows oppression and a bone-shaking urge to succeed on your path in life, or breaking out of this said cage.” OK!
At 4:30 p.m. Saturday, March 8, Knights of Columbus Hall
I hear the Seeds in this bashing Brooklyn trio, I certainly hear vintage, snotty Who, and on the track “Santa Tereza,” praise the Lord I hear vintage Crazy Horse. Stones, Stooges, swagger, it’s all here with a sort of retro-garage ferocity, just a shade lighter than punk but definitely fuzzed, and not something your grandma would enjoy listening to. How cool is that? Key tune #2: The relentless “Wolf At Your Window.” The band’s Kickstarter-funded debut full-length is called ZIL—it’s frenetic and fiery and funny, all at the same time.
At 9 p.m. Friday, March 7, Moon River Brewing Co. Beer Garden
Uncut declared 26-year-old Caitlin Rose “The Uncrowned Queen of New Nashville,” and while the jury’s still out on that one, there’s no dispute that there is a New Nashville (see our Those Darlins interview, this issue). And Rose, whose supple, sexy voice carries her beautifully through self-penned, old-school country ballads, dust bowl swing and even psych-pop tunes, seems to embody everything that Old Nashville once embraced: Sincerity, showmanship, and a rainbow stewpot of unbridled talent that’s boiling over. Add a dash of contemporary cool. Rose first made her mark in the U.K., where genuine country music is still a thing to be embraced and marveled at. Over here, they’re just starting to figure it out: Her second album, 2013’s The Stand-In, was one of the best-selling indie releases to come out of N-Town that year.
The Black Cadillacs
At 11 p.m. Thursday, March 6, Congress Street Social Club
Frontman Will Horton has a voice that belies his Tennessee lineage, just twangy enough to let you know where he comes from, but also strong and rangy enough to coax the most honey from the rock (and roll). This six-member gang out of Knoxville blasts blues/rock like with the finesse of the Fab Thunderbirds, hooky hard pop like the Who and the Stones, and a confetti swath of non-linear influences from the Black Keys to Pink Floyd to My Morning Jacket. Even better, they’ve got an incredible keyboard player (Kevin Hyfantis) who never gets buried in the mix. Reportedly one of the most energetic live shows in the South today.
Retro Futurist Showcase at 10 p.m. Thursday, March 6 at the Jinx
Savannah’s resident world-famous heavy music band is headlining a showcase for its brand-new record label, Retro Futurist. “It started becoming apparent that there needed to be some more labels for younger, smaller bands,” Kylesa guitarist (and new label exec) Philip Cope recently told an interviewer. “Years ago it was easier for smaller bands to get picked up pretty fast if they were good. But now it seems like with a lot of bigger labels, bands really need to go out and put in quite a bit of work before they can get signed ... but at the same time a lot of bands really give and put in their best work when they’re fresh.” Label acts on tonight’s bill include Irata, Darkentries and Burnt Books.
At 8:30 p.m. Saturday, March 8, Ellis Square (free, all ages)
Mississippi brothers Cain and Cyle Barnes may be doppelgangers for Jason Mewes of Jay and Silent Bob fame, but they’re no slackers: This Jackson fivesome makes sly, finely-crafted soul-infused rock ‘n’ roll (our current fave tune: “King-Sized Death Bed”), and lead singer Cyle has the wry drawl of a young Tom Petty (but dude, lose the glasses). Signed to Serpents and Snakes, Kings of Leon’s label, their latest record is Dear Bo Jackson. Secret weapon: Pianist Admiral Collier.