Here's our second collection of mini-profiles of the Savannah Stopover acts we're most excited about. You can find the first installment at www.connectsavannah.com.
Unless you've been living under a rock you're well aware that Savannah Stopover, March 7-10, is the biggest thing in live indie music all year. More than 70 bands and artists, from all over the country, are descending on a handful of venues for a highly concentrated dose of music, mirth and magic. Nearly all of them are playing here just prior to big showcase gigs at South By Southwest (SXSW), on of the nation's most prestigious music and art conferences, in Austin, Texas.
Many of Savannah's finest are performing in support roles, too. Check out the entire schedule, as well as ticket details and information about Stopover special events, at www.savannahstopover.com. Or, just peek at the special section tucked inside this (print) issue of Connect.
We'll see you next time with more, more, more.
At 10 p.m. Thursday, March 8/Loco's Grill & Pub
It might as well be 1968 - and I mean that in a good way - as this Boston band lives and breathes a vibrant, if light-feathered, sort of psychedelic folk/pop. Sometimes it's Jefferson Airplane, sometimes it's the Youngbloods, and sometimes - with the band's layered, glee-club vocal harmonies - it's just Spanky & Our Gang. The music is simplistic and it's most definitely retro, but that can be a good thing, especially with all the druggy echo laid into the tracks of Quilt's self-titled LP on Mexican Summer.
At midnight Friday, March 9/Live Wire Music Hall
Neon Gold Dance Party w/St. Lucia, Savoir Adore
Ben "B-Roc" Ruttner and James "Jpatt" Patterson are New York DJs, producers, re-mixers and unstoppable jamheads, and their remixes (and original material) for the likes of Katy Perry, Britney Spears, Lady Gaga, Rhianna, Marina & the Diamonds and others led to Britain's New Musical Express to designate the Knocks (collectively) one of the "20 hottest producers in music right now." The dance duo, with a Neon Gold Records deal, is now creating original material. As for the live show, Jpatt explains: "I am singing and dancing amidst a forest of cables, pedals and plugs while simultaneously playing synths through a midi controller. Meanwhile, Ben navigates through and is surrounded by multiple samplers which he uses to play different parts of the tracks that we've omitted. He also dances. There's also a backing track that plays the drums and some instruments that we are unable to play live. I occasionally rip on the talk box."
At 1 p.m. Saturday, March 10/Ships of the Sea Museum Garden
At 11 p.m. Saturday, March 10/Dosha
Athens-based pop singer/songwriter Matt Whitaker, 21, recorded his EP The Fall at Popheart Studios, which released it through its label, Mazarine (this, of course, is the same musical journey taken by Savannah's own Dare Dukes, and in fact Dukes and several other Mazarine acts are playing Stopover this year). In early 2011, Whitaker began working as a music therapist at a local rehabilitation hospital (ironically Cheyenne Marie Mize, yet another Stopover artist, also worked in music therapy). His interactions with patients in the late stages of Alzheimer's disease, many of whom had little or no recollection of the life they had experienced, inspired Whitaker to explore writing about the nature of memory, illness, and death. The Fall is a moody and propelling chillwave journey into the heart of inevitable darkness.
THE WAR ON DRUGS
At 9:30 p.m. Saturday, March 10/Ships of the Sea Museum Garden
In next week's issue, we'll have an interview with Adam Granduciel, the singer, songwriter and guitarist for this Philadelphia band, whose utterly addictive second album Slave Ambient was one of the highlights of 2011 for many, many rock ‘n' roll fans. What's cool about TWOD is the way Granduciel is able to blend Dylanesque lyrics, Springsteen-esque energy and - in the case of Slave Ambient, particularly - colorful washes of synthesizers and strings, to create a sonic picture that's almost 3D in its scope and beauty. Sometimes it's like listening to Neil Young having a brainstorming breakfast with My Morning Jacket. This is probably the most hotly-anticipated show on the Savannah Stopover schedule.
JANKA NABAY & THE BUBU GANG
At 11 p.m. Saturday, March 10/Loco's Grill & Pub
Welcome to the melting pot. I'll tell you this ... from the opening notes of the urgent bassline that opens "Ah Mena Ah," the leadoff track from Janka's new EP An Letah, I was hooked. He's a legend in his native Sierra Leone, for his frenetic take on the Ghanian dance music "bubu" - in Janka's hands, the traditionally Muslim sound owes as much to cityscapes, hip hop and electric fusion as it does to its spiritual and fresh-air African root system. Bubu is utterly addictive, and the New York musicians backing him here - members of the bands Skeletons, Gang Gang Dance and others - fell in love with it and reverently asked to back Janka in the studio and onstage. Their forward-thinking amalgam recently got them signed to David Byrne's world music label Luaka Bop.
At 10 p.m. Saturday, March 10/Live Wire Music Hall
Trippy psychedelia in a raw, garage-rock form, San Francisco's Jeremy Cox and Jigmae Baer clearly worship at the twin musical altars of the Velvet Underground and Syd Barrett-era Pink Floyd. The music can be dark and murky, and it can be kind of bright and melodic; either way, it suggests a druggy, sluggy walk through some sort of self-induced nightmare from the 1960s. "We have mottos of the month and we come up with a new one every so often," Baer says. "The latest one was, ‘The Baths are here, the party's over.' We're not making something to our ears is ugly, we're making what to our ears is beautiful. It's how you perceive beauty, and maybe our perception of beauty is different. We just try and be honest." The Royal Baths have recently relocated to Brooklyn.