Preview: Savannah Stopover

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Savannah in March has got to be one of the best places in time to experience.  Reason number one being that it is Savannah: the river and those cobble stones and the many squares with the garden-like-ways and trees with that moss that everyone loves so much.  It’s definitely the perfect place for a parade.  Perhaps you think of St. Patrick’s Day when I say Savannah in March, but before that green wave of madness rolls through town, something really quite unique for Savannah happens, and that is reason number two that I love Savannah in March: Savannah Stopover Music Festival.

Savannah Stopover is coming into it’s fourth year, and until recently, I was really under the impression that Savannah Stopover was purely a product of Savannah, when in actuality, Savannah just happens to sit in a really convenient place, at interstates 95 and 10, for musicians to pull over, play some shows, and continue on their way to Austin, Texas for SXSW.  But how fortunate it is!  It’s such a neat place to have the opportunity to discover new music or to perhaps see one of your favorite artists.  The scene just slides so nicely into place in the city that is a such a beautiful work of history and thick with gothic air and already thriving in the arts.  It’s no wonder that it is becoming a music destination in its own right.

There’s a long list of bands scheduled to be at Stopover the first weekend in March, many that I don’t know a lot about, so I will definitely be exposing myself to all kinds of new music.  Every time I try to get a handle on maintaining some sort of schedule while I’m there, I feel a little overwhelmed.  But really, there’s no need to panic.   First, there are a small number of venues officially involved (10 total, one of them being Ellis Park); next, I have never had trouble getting a taxi in Savannah when I’ve needed to; and last, it need be mentioned, you can drink on the street, making it easy to quickly hop from one venue to the next without having to finish your drink first.  So I’m going to be hopping from venue to venue, listening to new music, but there are a handful of bands that I am looking forward to seeing specifically.

First and foremost is Small Black, four guys that just released their second full length, Limits of Desire, in 2013.  Limits of Desire is one of my favorite albums of 2013, and I am so stoked to get to hear this music live.  I think their sound would be labeled as electro-indie pop, but Lo fi Synthpop is more accurate to my ears.  Check it out.  The first track is Free At Dawn, and all I can think about is how big that sound is going to be and how fast it’s going to fill me up with all the wavy notes and chest reaching lyrics.  It’s deep breathing, chest opening sky music.  I’m expecting a moving experience as part of their audience at Stopover.  It’ll be at the end of a long winded three day weekend!  You can catch their show Saturday night, one o’clock a.m. at Knights of Columbus.

The next two bands I specifically want to experience are Those Darlins and Future Islands.  I mention them together, because they are scheduled at the same time at two different venues.  That is unfortunate.  I have decided where I will be at 12:30 a.m. on Saturday the 6th, and that is at Club One with Future Islands.  I know this is a good decision, but it still makes me cringe to be missing Those Darlins!

I’ve already had the pleasure of being an audience member to Those Darlins at The Green Room In Athens, Georgia.  They’re an interesting foursome, two guys and two gals from Tennessee.  You can hear the concrete country in the accent of their words.  And they know how to make a scene.  Just check out the cover of their latest album, Blur the Line.  They caused a big scene back home when they had that blown up and hung in town.  I’m sure they’ll put on a worthy show at Knights of Columbus, and I’m really sorry to be missing them, but perhaps I’ll catch up to them at SXSW.

Future Islands, I’ve never seen before.  They’re performing at Club One, which really just nailed the decision down.  I don’t know if I’m more excited about the venue or the band?!  I used to go to Club One, Savannah’s gay club, when I was in college.  There are three levels, the top in which I saw many drag performances, but I’ve never seen a band take the stage.  I like the idea of being in such a familiar old place with music that may not be so new, but is new to my ears.  I’m hoping I’ll hear some of my favorites, such as Beach Foam from their 2008 album, Wave Like Home.  But I expect I’m more likely to hear popular songs from their most recent album, On The Water, released in 2011.  The music from this album makes me feel like dancing in a swaying kind of fashion.  Songs like Balance and Before the Bridge have a way of being upbeat with full meaning in that special way that electro-pop presents itself.  I’m looking forward to reporting back my experience at this Future Islands performance.

So there you have it, I’m magic markered in for Small Black and Future Islands with a side of longing for Those Darlins!  I’m sure the other bands on the roster (Whiskey Dick, The Black Cadillacs, and Christopher Paul Stelling, just to name a few that caught my eye) will fill that void until my musical cup is flowing over with brand new sounds, and I’m sure the city of Savannah will be just as beautiful and full of life as ever.

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