The tipsy music fan’s guide to River Street 

This is the time of year when folks can easily (if you like to call dodging green foam hats while trying not to slip on plastic beads and fall into who-knows-what “easily”) catch a blue million live music acts for free on the Waterfront as part of our Annual St. Patrick’s Day Celebration.

If you’re reading this page, there’s a better than average chance that you are A) only visiting our fair city for the holiday, B) anxious to quickly ascertain what sort of musical entertainment you have at your immediate disposal which won’t cost you an arm and a leg, and C) you’re at least mildly intoxicated.*

With that in mind, the following is designed as a snapshot of concerts taking place on River Street over the course of the party. Not everyone or everything that can be found on a stage will be mentioned in this overview, but as you’ll soon realize —if you don’t know already— some of the most entertaining displays of talent (musical or otherwise) can actually be found not on stage, but on the cobblestone streets and sidewalks of the Waterfront during this yearly mass of slightly debauched (and, it must be noted, bored) humanity.

You can find a complete schedule at www.riverstreetsavannah.com, but if you’re looking for high points of the insanity, here’s what’s going down sonically on the River this weekend...

We’ll take it one stage at a time.

Thursday on the Miller High Life Stage by Tubby’s Tank House and Huey’s Restaurant, you’ll want to consider:

A Battle of The Bands featuring up-and-coming amateur talent from throughout the region (including the minorly established modern grunge-rock trio Element Unseen).

Seven groups compete for cash prizes and the chance to headline a later show on the Waterfront. It all starts at 5 pm sharp.

Then on Friday at noon, Tybee-based brother duo Kurtis & Kody (who, during their time in Nashville opened for the likes of Gov’t Mule, among others) play a set of original, acoustic guitar and percussion-based folk-pop.

4 pm finds Atlanta’s esteemed traditional Celtic group POG playing a variety of well-known Irish folk faves on such instruments as the whistle, the fiddle and the pipes. They willingly take requests, so don’t be afraid to try and stump the band!

Headlining this stage that night at 8 pm will be The Prodigals, one of the biggest names in Celtic rock to be found today. Their members hail from Ireland, England and NYC, but their top-notch song-craft and jazz-funk rhythm section have made them a popular touring act on both sides of the Atlantic, and caused The Village Voice to dub them “New York’s answer to The Pogues.” This should be a must-see.

After a Karaoke Contest (which should prove to be hilarious), popular locals High Velocity offer up some hell-raisin’ Southern and classic rock covers as well as modern country hits at 10 pm.

The following day finds Savannah’s hard-swinging rotgut blues and garage-rock band Bottles & Cans taking the stage at 1 pm, followed by the polished honky-tonk of well-known local singer/guitarist Jason Courtenay and his band at 4 pm.

Things start to get a little wild when the up-and-coming (but horribly named) jam and funk group Yo Momma’s Big Fat Bootie Band appear at 8 pm, followed by more Southern rock and country covers from Back Roads at 10 pm.

Sunday at noon, the top three winners of Thursday’s Battle of The Bands give encore performances on this stage.

On the Miller Lite Stage by Fiddler’s Crab House, veteran local artist Jeff Beasley kicks off Thursday at 5 pm with a set of funky, Big Easy-influenced R & B and early boogie-woogie rock & roll. At 2 pm, The Nassau County Fire Dept.’s Pipe and Drum Corps adds a little authenticity back into the mix, followed by Columbia, S.C.’s own excellent Irish roots-rock band Loch Ness Johnny at 5 pm.

Saturday at 2 pm, POG are back at this location, while local psychedelic fusion group Mr. Wiley appear at 6 pm. The evening winds up at 10 pm with the extremely popular area modern rock band Liquid Ginger, who have released two impressive indie CDs of radio-friendly crunch-pop.

And finally, Sunday at 4 pm, local bar and club favorites The Train Wrecks, fronted by Texas-bred singer/songwriter Jason Bible, bring their intense, manic roots-a-billy covers and originals to the stage. Fans of Johnny Cash, Tom Petty, Steve Earle and Ryan Adams may want to stick around for this set.

Again, this list is far from comprehensive. For the bird’s-eye low-down on this “Apocalypse Hops”, check out that website I mentioned earlier.

And regardless of how much fun you’re having: if you’ve had too much to drink, call a cab. It’s the right thing to do, and the drivers could use the money.

* That is, assuming you are of the proper age to legally imbibe, and are nowhere near a plate of Lemon Pepper Wings.


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Jim Reed

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