A Guide to Savannah Stopover 2013
Savannah Stopover is back! Not that we weren’t expecting it to return, we’re just incredibly excited for a festival that offers one of the best lineups in the region. Last year was a blur, but a good kind of blur. What’s not to love about a bunch of bars and venues in downtown Savannah offering live music for three days straight under one low ticket price? Not to mention that they’ve managed to land of Montreal, Chelsea Light Moving (Thurston Moore), The Whigs, Merchandise, Ducktails, Dent May, Turbo Fruits, Ben Sollee, and dozens and dozens more act within a short three day period. Pretty amazing for a festival only in its third year… Oh, and you don’t even have to buy a ticket to see of Montreal…
You can call it the poor man’s SXSW (I had no idea those tickets were that expensive…), but Stopover lacks nothing in quality and quantity. Last year, the streets were packed with fans from around the South East, and with the addition of a number of new venues, sets from Ponderosa, Bronze Radio Return, Little Tybee etc. etc., I wouldn’t be surprised if the festival makes some serious national press.
General Admission tickets are only going to leave you short $75.00 (less than $1.00 per band), and if you want to act like a grown up and go VIP, you’re only going to be out $120.00. You were pulling out your wallet?…
Thursday, March 7th
Without a doubt, the early evening festival kick-off show from The Last Bison and Ben Sollee at the Ships of the Sea Museum is the place to be. The folks with Savannah Morning News and Savannah Magazine lucked out with this lineup, as The Last Bison debuted with a critically acclaimed chamber-pop album in 2011 and their follow up is expected any day now – whereas Sollee has been on everyone’s radar since the mid-2000’s and appeared at Bonnaroo, Deluna, Newport Folk, and many more in the past year. It’s clear Sollee has made an impact; A live performance we released in 2011 turned out to be one of the highest traffic posts we’ve had to date.
From there, we’d suggest to head to the Knights of Columbus for Merchandise at 9:30pm. These Floridians have been making playlists around the world since 2008. A Pitchfork certified buzz-band (bring on the comments), they’ve landed a number of feature spots in the past year and we’re expecting big things from them. Next up, we’ll probably trot over to Club One for a set from PAN. Though one of our writers wasn’t extremely fond of their release last year, we’ve heard exciting things about their live show and we’re usually happy to support anyone from our neighboring state.
Even after the first night, it’s clear that the folks behind the festival have curated a lineup that’s going to require some picking and choosing – and it’s not a bad thing. Where to head from there? Chelsea Light Moving with Sonic Youth’s Thurston Moore at Knights of Columbus? Diarrhea Planet at Taco Abajo? The Coathangers at Hangfire? This is going to be difficult, so we’ll skip ahead to the late night sets. Chances are we’ll spend the rest of the evening at the Bragg Jam Festival Stage at B&D Burgers. The Macon-based festival secured a sponsorship with Stopover and is excited to be presenting a solid lineup for the weekend – including TBI alums Kopecky Family Band at midnight on Thursday, Fossil Collective the next evening, and field report, This Mountain, and TBI’s “Band of the Month” for February, Roadkill Ghost Choir, on Saturday.
Start working on your hangover.
Friday, March 8th
Wake up early, get the most sober person of your crew to drive, and head to Tybee to take a dip in the ocean before you make any other plans on Saturday. It’s going to be cold, but you’re going to need to clear your head before you start the festivities for the day. Maybe head over to Zunzi’s for what I’ve heard are the best sandwiches on the planet.
Things get going early with sets from Swear & Shake, Les Racquet, Blackrune around 5:00pm. Swear & Shake being another band that made our BOTM list, is currently out on the road with G. Love & Special Sauce, and has been turning heads in all directions. I’m pretty much in love with Kari Spieler from S&S already, so head down to the patio at B&D and try and figure out how you’re going to break the news to your significant other.
After that, Heyrocco looks good to me, before we make it over to Forsyth Park for a FREE show from the kings of weird, of Montreal, and support from Royal Canoe. I would expect a few thousand people to show up to see what antics Kevin Barnes has going on this time around.
Another band I’m personally excited about seeing is Babylon, New York’s We Can’t Enjoy Ourselves. I wouldn’t be surprised if this was their first time down South, as they’re a relatively new band, but their song “Devil In The Old Folks Home” is a surefire contender for this summer’s anthem. “Raincoats Coax the Rain” is another track I’ve enjoyed from them, but I honestly haven’t heard one that doesn’t get my feet tapping. They’ll be going on at Hangfire at 7:00pm, so you’ll have some choosing to do again.
Following in the footsteps of much larger festivals, the hard working team behind Stopover made it possible to personalize your schedule so you can at least try to stick to some sort of plan. Make note of this.
Ducktails and HAERTS at the same time proves yet again to be a difficult choice for anyone who’s paid attention to the blogosphere this past year, and for ample reason. Ducktails, the pop project of Matthew Mondanile (Real Estate), has gathered rave reviews in the world of hipsterdom since debuting in 2009, while HAERTS made a huge splash this year with their debut single “Wings”. Think Stevie Nicks synth overload.
It wouldn’t be Savannah Stopover without including some of the city’s best and brightest talent as well. KidSyc@Brandywine takes the stage at Club One at 11:30pm, while The Accomplices are on at Social Club earlier in the evening. You can check out the full wrap of local acts here.
Saturday, March 9th
And so begins the final day of Savannah Stopover 2013. If you make it this far, congratulations. You’ve mucked your way through the sea of fixies, “photographers”, and all the beautiful, fun loving people that call this city home – as well as the huge out-of-town crowds that are bound to be there. There’s a good reason why Savannah is one of the top tourist destinations in the South; excellent food, a bar on every corner, and a local audience that (for the most part) embraces the tourist culture instead of frowning upon it. It’s going to be hard to leave this weekend behind you without making at least a few new friends that will welcome you back with open arms and thrift store couches for you to sleep on. In the weird and concerning chance that you get tired of all this good music, Connect Savannah, the city’s entertainment weekly, offers plenty of entertaining options for your time in the “Hostess City of the South”.
The last day of the festival is as jam-packed with good vibes as the previous two, and there are a few particular acts that have me grinning from ear-to-ear at the thought of seeing them live. Colorfeels, the “eclectric” group who’ll be joining Little Tybee on their national tour this Spring, plays at 4:00pm at the Social Club. Most of the other participating venues start their lineups around this time too, so competition comes from Deep Search (Savannah) at Taco Abajo, Christopher Paul Stelling (Brooklyn) at B&D Outside, and more.
Since you”ll be well on your way along the path to musical enlightenment, I would advise stops at Young Buffalo (6:00pm @ Hangfire), Little Tybee (7:00pm @ Social Club), Whaleboat (8:30pm @ KOC), and from there, you’re on your own. I can’t dictate between the remaining bands that evening, so just go with what feels natural.
All the pretty girls are going to be front and center for Triathalon‘s set though, unless they get distracted and go to see The Whigs. If that’s the case, expect dude-fest 2K13. Your choice as to what sounds more fun.
The festival closes out with sets from Roadkill Ghost Choir at B&D, Dent May at Hangfire, Henry Wagons (all the way from Australia) at Social Club, Daniel Elsworth & the Great Lakes at Taco Abajo, and Turbo Fruits at The Jinx. Talk about a bang over…
If this hasn’t been enough to convince you to make the sobering drive down I-16 (or wherever else you’re coming from) then my best guess is maybe good times aren’t in the stars for you. There’s no telling as to the number of “next bests” are packed into these three days, and I know how much you love saying “Well, I was there when they were playing small club shows..”, so do yourself the favor.