Just a week ago today….
A good night’s sleep after a day of travel and a night filled with music can completely rejuvenate me. Savannah is such a beautiful welcoming city. The weather was perfect for the entire weekend and each venue was within blocks of each other. After a hardy meal and popping around in local Savannah shops, it was time for the music to begin. I began the evening early at 5pm with Esther Rose at Service Brewing Company. They were a new sponsor to the Festival and provided a wonderful wide open space for sipping and listening.
Having Esther Rose begin my Friday festival experience was a nice choice. It helped me ease into the schedule of the many bands on my list to see. For Esther, living in New Orleans influenced her songwriting and some have dubbed it “the happiest saddest music.” She has a way of presenting simple, timeless country songs, with quality. Rose is a songwriter that captures feelings and emotion, peppering them with a good ol’ fiddle. The combo becomes easy listening at it’s best. Favorites of their set were “Jump Down Baby”, “The Money Tree” and I am not sure of the name of the song I captured in my snippet video clip, maybe new music or a cover….but I liked it!
The Holy Knives
The lead singer for The Holy Knives was dripping with charisma and had a voice that made me stop and take notice. Honestly, I didn’t plan to slow up from my next allotted band, but I couldn’t help it. So, I stepped inside the lovely outdoor courtyard of the Congress Street Social Club to listen. The Holy Knives have a debut album out now, which is sultry rock and roll, Year of the Black Dog. Brothers, Kyle and Kody Valentine, have the perfect combination of one providing nice guitar work, and the other deep brooding baritone vocals. Be sure to check out my short video clip.
When I was planning my Stopover schedule, I knew this was going to be a once in a lifetime experience. William Tyler’s guitar work echoes quiet thoughts of genius. He can pluck the strings a multitude of times while you simply blink. It is beyond phenomenal to experience live, because you can see the depth of concentration on his face and the sharp angled knuckles on his fingers created by years of practice. I will forever be in awe.
Performing alone, in a small room right beside a hip, upscale bar, he quieted the room. I almost felt cheated if I heard a whisper, or if someone quietly shuffled from the stiffness of sitting on the barren, glossy cement floor. I sat frozen in wonder unable to move. I wanted to simply listen and soak in the moment.
When Tyler would play guitar for a moment, then bend down to work on the loops, it was a mesmerizing interruption. I listened intently, hoping to somehow separate the live guitar with the recorded loops. It proved to be impossible, due to the layers and layers of guitar work and my inability to see the fast plucking of his right hand.
But as you will see in my very short video, both of his hands are in constant motion. His newest album, Goes West, is one for the ultimate guitar lover or a quiet Sunday morning meant for reading and broadly expanding the mind.
Dead Soft was another band I accidentally stumbled upon, as I was traveling from venue to venue. I rushed by the outdoor stage, and as I listened, I had to stop. Dead Soft has the power to combine a punk-like rock with a pop sensibility making their music catchy and satisfying, but exposing wonderful, gritty edges. Check out their latest single release, “Porch”.
Here is the lovely view of the moon sliver shining over the Ships of the Sea outdoor venue. Their gardens are beautiful, even in the very early stages of spring. I am a nature and plant lover, so I notice every statuesque tree and every flowering bush.
There was a DJ playing a set in the main outdoor area. It was perfect listening for grabbing a drink and dinner from one of the food trucks parked behind the main stage. I was able to grab a quick bite and actually chat with some new found friends.
I loved that I would see some of the same people from venue to venue. We became quite chummy. I almost wish I wasn’t working at times because I would love to get to know them all a little better.
Case in point is the adorable gal who was wearing the bold mermaid bell bottom pants. I couldn’t help but notice her radiant smile and beaming confidence. I only wish I was able to capture the emerald green color which made them so fun. It was a quick photo, so I missed the opportunity, but had to post the aura of silly happiness! Rock on, Breanna!
I am not sure if any music writers really talk about all of the equipment these bands bring with them when they tour. It is incredible and it hurts my back just to imagine hauling it day in and day out. In my opinion, a band “makes it” when they can afford to hire others to help them with all of their equipment. I always wonder, how do they have the time to explore and develop their music? Blows my mind sometimes.
While I am on the subject of equipment….holy cow! This is just one tiny area of a complicated do-hicky. It is crazy to think these bands can perform without a hitch. There is so much which can go terribly wrong. Power to the stage builders, the power people, light controllers, the roadies, and the sound engineers.
Faye Webster has a lush, silky sound meant for listening and maybe secretly shedding a tear or two. She has the uncanny ability to put modern day relationship woes into sultry soothing alt-country folk-pop. That is a few genres to describe her music, but it is difficult to actually describe. It is meant for listening, experiencing, and finding emotional connections.
The slide is her thing. Every song seems to have a solo slide performance, or a highlighted choral background. Faye Webster has a new album, Atlanta Millionaire’s Club, out on May 24th. There is no denying her love for Atlanta, with her Atlanta Braves jersey, the tomahawk chop chant as they entered the stage, and her connection to the Atlanta hip hop scene. Makes me Atlanta proud.
With all of the sweet vocals hinting at serious angst lyrically, it was a happy welcome quirky relief to watch her yo-yo on stage. She proudly declared she learned how to ‘walk the dog’. I never actually saw her accomplish it, but enjoyed watching her brother and bandmate’s face as she made multiple attempts.
The yard was packed!
Love this satisfied smile. Faye Webster is a force to be reckoned with and an artist to watch for 2019. She is going to blow things up!
Loved bumping into a friend of a friend at WUOG (Athens, UGA radio station has a strong pulse on the music of today). Will, the newest music director at WUOG, enjoyed Faye Webster’s set enough to allow me a snap of him with the setlist.
The Atlanta band, Deer Hunter, has been on my radar for many years. So, I can’t explain why I haven’t seen them live. My bad. My bad bad. Known for their experimental, thought provoking heady, psych rock which has an unusual lean into the catchy mainstream, they dominate the indie airwaves with their tunes.
Having them as a headliner at Savannah Stopover sweetened the deal for attending and covering it. Word on the street is they have been asked to visit Stopover for years, it was an impeccable fit. The timing couldn’t be better, so this year it was meant to be. They recently released their newest album, Why Hasn’t Everything Already Disappeared.
Crazily, they make the ultimate musical art out of decay and brokenness. Somehow it works magically, soaking me in, and helping me to lose time and place. Frontman Bradford Cox is the epitome of cool, thoughtful, and arty songwriting talent.
The concert began with trippy sounds and loops manipulated by the band and Cox. We all stood in awe, hushed and listened. Then “Cryptograms”, a retro 80’s jaunty chant, broke out. A 2007 charm which impressed the serious fanatic fans, of which there were many.
They soared the music to today and played their latest, “Death in Midsummer” to an eager young audience. Pleasing listeners across multiple generations, they began their set with a punch and we were all enthralled.
Deer Hunter has an incredible lead singer, but the entire band is truly a collective of talent and ingenuity.
One of my favorite photos of the weekend. I watched him play so solidly, quietly, behind the scenes and a giant speaker. He was almost hidden, but playing and working his craft deftly. Something to behold.
So for my dear friends and supportive family, I post this one for my other half. The guy in the shadows appreciating everything about my dunking him with crazy music, and his loving help and encouragement. He (the guy with the hat) waits in the shadows listening and letting me be strong and I love him for it.
Bradford Cox spoke to the attendees about their long tour schedule. They were coming to the end of a pretty grueling one. He spoke about his puppy at home and missing him terribly. Just one of the many things we take for granted. I understand on the Deerhunter rider (the band’s request of little extras) they requested a puppy to hold and pet. When I heard that, my heart grew three sizes that day…..
It was a very quick visit to see Well Wisher, but worth the racing around. A punky rock, hip sound that is now….I only have a small clip of their set (“I Know Better”). Just know that her vocals are much stronger in their recorded music. My video is extremely poor quality. Go listen, I highly recommend.
What an incredible Virginia band and sound. I loved every minute of their set. They have a solid throwback sound catapulted to today. Poppy and Beatlesque they tend to please a crowd with their tunes. So well, that I witnessed a gal fawning on the lead singer so much she was a serious problem. Not pretty….It took multiple people to eventually escort her away. But in the fray, I witnessed a band trying their best, to be their best in a bad situation. They were awesome. Their music is a must listen.
Fairly new on the seen, Sun Seeker has a stage show that brings the listeners. Despite being from Nashville, they aren’t country. They are more pop/rock and produce amazing toe tapping worthy tunes. Totally enjoyed their set. Best song of their set is their newest release, “Good Year”. I am totally hoping it is off an album in the works.
Wishing I had more to welcome you to the ‘surf wave of noise’ that is Empath. They have a fuzzed out, trippy punk sound which is weirdly catchy, but incredibly edgy. They embody a sound you need to hear.
Pip the Pansy
Pip….I want to say trip. This moment in time made me feel like the world was tripping and not on its axis. Disco/Electronica in genre, she defied any pigeon holing. Purely dance joy and fun, I also witnessed incredible talent.
This gal could handle and sing NYC musicals or even Broadway. More power to her convictions in a struggling world. I only wish more were up late to experience the wildness. She possessed a vocal range which wowed and a performance which made me scratch my head a bit. Did I mention her magic flute?
I can’t help but share another video of Pip The Pansy. Behind her back she carried a flute in an archer’s pouch. When she pulled it out to play it was a curious fun addition to their unusual show.
Awwww Lawd, this wild group closed the night and brought the house down. Dancing, singing, jumping, and clapping, I saw it all and relished in a happy closer for the stellar day/evening of music. I knew to rip off any expectations and just experience their talent.
Part skit, mostly music, it was a wild evening moment. Watch and let me know your thoughts.
Dance fans also stealing the show.
On my long trek back to the hotel, I walked by the happiest bird. It was 1 am and that sweet bird was singing it’s heart out. Finale music that made my heart sing.
What a day! One more day left to go, and the biggest day of the three…..I am so excited to share my final Stopover experiences. Stay Tuned!