Teenagers pounding out guitar noise in a garage don't have a lot of options for playing in public, because of the city's pesky drinking-age law. Look hard enough, and you'll find a couple of restaurants which give stage space to all-ages music, but it's not exactly a lucrative business.
That’s why God created the house show.
“House shows are our favorite places to play,” explains Crazy Bag Lady drummer Daniel Lynch. “I think they’re a lot of bands’ favorite places to play, because they are so personal. You get 25 kids in some of these living rooms and it seems like there’s a thousand people there, all right there with you. You can’t miss a beat.”
The four guys in Crazy Bag Lady are well into their 20s, and the band has been cranking out adrenaline-pumping rock ‘n’ roll in Savannah bars, where the beer flows like wine, for almost two years now.
But they’re best experienced at an intimate, house-show level, where wild-eyed and frenetic singer Josh Sterno is so close you’re swapping sweat with him.
The energy-stoked quartet plays Hang Fire’s eighth anniversary party Friday, June 13, with COEDS. They’re booked into Hang Fire again on June 26, with Sharkmuffin.
Oh, they love that cramped little stage at Hang Fire. “It fills out so easy,” says guitarist Derek Lynch (Daniel’s brother). “You feel like you’re on top of the world.”
Says charismatic frontman Sterno: “I love how personal I can get with an audience; I feel it’s easier to control a crowd that close. I also enjoy making people feel awkward, for some reason ...”
On Saturday the 14th it’s back into all-ages territory with a show at Graveface Records & Curiosities, with the Joy Kills and Whiskey Wednesday.
Sterno and the LynchBros grew up in Guyton. Of course, there isn’t really much to do in Effingham County, which might explain why so many bands come out of so many garages there.
Derek Lynch remembers a metal band he was in, A Girl A Gun A Ghost (“An old school hardcore sound with a new southern rock twist” read their self-written bio). They referred to themselves, he remembers with a shrug, as AGAGAG. “It was pretty awful, but we took it out on the road and had a lot of fun with it.”
Next came the hardcore project Indian Giver, with Josh Sterno on vocals. That band morphed into Crazy Bag Lady with the addition of Daniel Lynch on drums (Zach Barnum replaced the original bassist about a year ago).
“My brother and I have been writing together since we were kids, but we hadn’t played in a band seriously together,” Daniel reports. “We’d played all over the place with our own things. But me and him getting together with this band, it just immediately came together.”
Daniel’s “other” endeavor, the electronic music project Sunglow (it’s not a band, it’s just him and a computer) is a two-time winner in the Connect Best of Savannah readers’ poll. He’s been writing and recording as Sunglow since 2009.
Writing Crazy Bag Lady music (“loud, aggressive but not angry-sounding” they say) is a welcome challenge for him. In most bands, Lynch believes, “You’re either too selfish or you’re too selfless. Either you want to write a specific type of music and you don’t care what anybody thinks, or you’re thinking about what people want too much.
“We’re right in the middle, I swear. We’ll write a song and go ‘That’s almost too catchy,’ or ‘That’s almost too pop,’ then we get done with it and it’s great. We love it and it sounds perfect.”
Kylesa’s Phillip Cope will produce the band’s full-length debut this fall for his Retro Futurist label. Until then, there’ll be more shows—in Savannah, of course, and hopefully down the highway too. They’re saving up for a van.
How fortunate that all four members of Crazy Bag Lady work at the Mellow Mushroom. “I don’t know if we could even do all the things we do if we didn’t all work there,” Derek says. “They give us so much flexibility—if we need a day off for a show, we have that that day off. It’s guaranteed. They have enough people to cover us. Couldn’t ask for a better position.”
Check out the Crazy Bag Lady track "Out of the Way" at crazybaglady.bandcamp.com