When the sun came up, I didn’t. I needed the extra morning sleep to recover from the miles of walking and running I did for the past two days. Saturday morning was recovery mode. But, looking over the schedule, I found that food was offered at the first venue! Eureka! Stopover did it again. Perfect planning!
On the way, I noticed how spring had already sprung in Savannah.
I also jumped in to a vintage mall. After seeing loads of wonderful stuff, I saw this curious display of all things horrifying. The booth was filled with bat corpses. Is there a market for this?
The day began with a nice rhythm despite the wild nightmare visions of critters in jars. The sun was out, the temperature was warm, and the first bands were at The Grey’s outdoor space. Lunch and libations were available. So, I purchased the only veggie choice on the menu…a pimento cheese sandwich. I was happily surprised it had a spicy kick to it. Yum! It was an easy way to settle into the crazy schedule I had ahead of me. So, I kicked back and relaxed, listening to the luminous voice of Skylar Gudasz. A favorite song of her set, “Play Nice”.
Me…doing my thing!
Up next was Savannah Conley. She was entertaining as she explained each of her songs and it provided us a glimpse into her life. She has a nice sense of humor, despite the somewhat sorrowful songs she sings. She recalled the first time her niece heard her sing her tune “All I Wanted”. Singing, “All I wanted was someone to share a moment, All I wanted was you.” But when her niece heard it she said, wait a minute….you don’t want pretty clothes, or baby dolls, or candy? She wasn’t quite sure how to explain the song to her.
I was very impressed by the band, Tallies, out of Toronto. Their guitar work was stellar, and the lead’s voice reminded me of one of my favorites, Alvvays. They recently released a self-titled album, and I love everything about it. It has jangly guitars which shine, and Sarah Cogen has a tone to her voice that is soothing and lovely. The combination is really amazing. They will be around Texas for a while and then on to LA. Give them a listen.
Waiting on the next band to set up, I couldn’t help but notice the flashing of gold out of the corner of my eye. I had to look for the source! An adorable gal was wearing the cutest gold boots. The picture was a quick one, so not super clear. But I am glad I was able to get a lovely shot of her and her friends.
All fashionistas, but the gold boot’s belong to the one on the left!
This band had a relaxing, chill sound. The perfect sound for a quiet Sunday afternoon when you are dreading the coming week. It is mood altering, meditative softness with a quiet emphasis of guitar strumming rhythms. They have a new album, Softer Faces, out now. When she brought out her trombone, I knew we were in for a treat.
This was the set of music which seemed to get the most love and had the biggest afternoon/early evening following. Surfer Blood is out of West Palm Beach, Florida. There were so many fans singing and dancing. I was mesmerized by the audience’s excitement and I think the band felt the energy too. They gave us an incredible show. There has been so much going on with this band, but now, it is time for new music! I believe it is in the works. Stay connected with them if you dig their sound.
So this is when John Paul Pitts began his trek singing through the tightly packed crowd. Everyone went crazy and I was trying my best to capture the moment with my camera (yeah, eyes behind the lens). That’s when he suddenly hopped up on the bench beside me, singing to me, and shocking the bejeebies out of me. I was pretty shocked! Good Gracious, their show has crazy surprises!
Yep, that is my silly shocked face.
If you look closely, that is my reflection in the light fixture. I was standing on a bench seat for the duration of Surfer Blood’s set. It was a great vantage point until it wasn’t…..heheheh.
Deeper, out of Chicago, proved to be a surprising joy. Their set was pure indie rock and they honed their craft well, as if they have been around for a long time. They have only one self-titled album, but they totally rocked the evening and set the tone as the opening band at Ships of the Sea. With a punk-like vocal delivery of singing shouts and twanging, chiming guitars, it is a band I will keep on my rotating playlist. The lead singer, Nic Grohl, sang with eyes closed most of the evening, putting emphasis on the powerful weight of their songs. I expect they will have new material soon. A band to watch for sure. A favorite of mine, “Pink Showers”, is in my snippet of a video.
Pylon Re-enactment Society
At last year’s Savannah Stopover, I was able to experience the post-punk dance rock of Pylon Reenactment Society in the midst of proud and serious fans of Pylon. Interspersed throughout the crowd were many who were like me, experiencing it for the very first time. It was a wild ride then, and it proved to once again be a wild ride on a bigger stage with a much larger audience of all ages and stages. Vanessa Hay’s voice hasn’t changed much over the years and her odd whistles, shouts and guttural screams simply emphasize the blazing beat. She came out on the stage barefooted and proceeded to entertain with gusto. Even though she works the crowd deftly as she prances and dances around the stage, I couldn’t keep my eyes off the keyboard player. Damon Denton was a feast of dance moves and wild facial expressions as he pounded on the keys. The spinning and jamming bassist, Kay Stanton also kept me quite entertained. There was so much going on and the music was just their fodder. Bringing back a sound from the past is one thing, but to breathe new life into it with dance and entertainment is quite another. If you are a fan of this compelling, cutting edge, punk period in music, you will be a fan of theirs!
The Joy Formidable
We all have our early music obsessions that might not stand up as our music tastes grow, and The Joy Formidable was one of those for me. Or so I thought. I was crazy about their album The Big Roar, but I haven’t really given their other albums much thought. The song, “Whirring” was my jam for so long. I can sing it by heart, as many of you reading this probably can. After seeing them live again, I recognize their timeless appeal. Rhiannon “Ritzy” Bryan is a tiny power force on stage. She is almost too small for a guitar, but she plays like it is just an attached extension of herself. Her tiny frame in her 6 inch stacks, becomes a smoking powerhouse while she insanely swirls to the music and strums her guitar. The Joy Formidable empower the perfect 90’s remeniscent sound. Bring good ear saving earplugs and the propensity to jump to music, and you will enjoy every minute.
Bad Bad Hats
Well, it took over three days of Stopover and more than twenty bands to decide, but this band might be my latest happiness and newest music obsession. Bad Bad Hats from Minnesota, is charming, creative, and talented. They have insanely catchy songs which express diary-like personal experiences with wit and humor, and yet each song they play has a different style or structure. So, I am never bored listening to their indie-bubblegum pop.
A highlight of their live performance was the distinctive vocals of Kerry Alexander. When backed with a talented band of musicians, they have developed a winning formula. They released an album just last year, Lightning Round, and it will be on repeat for the rest of this year for me, until new music arrives. They are touring extensively through April so don’t miss them.
I couldn’t resist this photo! Love her fun, playful vibe!
So, if you have been following a while, you would know that I am obsessed with The Beths. I placed their album, Future Me Hates Me, #6 on my top ten favorite albums last year. Lyrically the songs are solid and the delivery rocks. Each song exudes serious attitude and personality with a freshness that can’t be easily matched. What is not to love when it comes to popping hooks and strong songwriting? The Beths have it all, and I am hungry for more.
Their show had energy and the packed crowd had difficulty moving to the music as much as they all really wanted to move. I had a hard time focusing on pictures due to my nutty fangirldom. After their set I chatted with Elizabeth Stokes about their last song of the set, “Little Death”. I told her it gets me every time, because it is so truthful about infatuation! She looked generally worried, and apologized. OMG! I immediately explained that she captured incredible feelings in song….and it was genius. She smiled and looked relieved. Now, that is cool. They are touring at SXSW, then throughout Europe and on to Australia. Don’t miss them.
This guy seemed to be at every show I attended. He is a true music fan and scored The Beth’s set list! Way to go!
Mike Krol was the last show of the night and it did not disappoint. He has perfected the jam of punk/garage rock. When I saw his bass player with a bloody nose, I knew I was going to be in for a wild set. I was so busy trying to capture his movements and get some good shots, I didn’t even realize he also sported a shiner of a black eye. They were the perfect get-ups to promote his latest album, Power Chords.
Take my word and give it a listen, especially if you miss the sound of grungy rock with punk leanings like I do. Every song is head banging worthy, but surprisingly has a pop inclination. Therefore, Krol has tapped into something quite exceptional. It is early in the year, but I am guessing this album will be on my final 2019 top album list. Combine their sound with their awesome energy infused show, and it is golden! A must listen is, “What’s The Rhythm”. I captured a very small bit of it for you, below.
I have been dragging out my posts, because I have wanted to relive the entire experience of Savannah Stopover. It always delivers and brings joy to my ‘always seeking music’ heart, I hope you have been able to see what makes this Festival unique. I wish I could’ve made it to every band on the schedule, but as this festival grows it becomes harder and harder, even with my insane pace.
I want to shout out to the cute gal that stopped me late one night and offered to buy me a drink because she said I was the hardest working photographer she had ever seen. She made all of the hard work bearable with her incredible praise. Thank you!
Thank you Stopover for making a festival which rocks!
I can’t wait until next year!
4 Replies to “Savannah Stopover Saturday -The Joy Formidable and 11 other indie bands-Photos and Review #happystopover”
Wow! What amazing coverage. The bats and Mike Krol’s black eye are definitely weird, but is that Allison Crutchfield with a bloody nose? Sounds like a rough place! We just saw The Beths here in Tampa and loved them too!
Dang, I don’t know. But it was all amazing! You all need to come next year!
Great coverage Carrie. Can’t wait to see you guys again next year!
Thanks! Look forward to it!