Revival Fest 2014
Rolling into its second year of existence on September 20th, Savannah’s Revival Fest is quickly becoming a low country favorite of locals and out of towners alike. This year’s modern hoedown boasted not only an impressive 14 bands including major touring acts like Roadkill Ghost Choir, The Cedric Burnside Project, Futurebirds, and The Dirty Bourbon River Show, but also a slew of activities, food, and drink thanks to sponsors such as Service Brewing Company and Art Rise Savannah.
The unique mixture of music, food, and charm from the Georgia State Railroad Museum really show what Savannah’s appeal is all about. Below are some recaps from a few of the standout bands from the day.
We’ll see you at Savannah Stopover 2015! – Petee & Sarah
A group of Savannah locals, Waits and Co. have established themselves in town as a group of the hardest working musicians in town. Waits’ voice straddles a fine line between crooning and howling which makes for a resounding effect. Starting the day off with Waits and Co. was definitely a solid idea on the part of the festival organizers. Their style is something completely unique that only a band steeped in Savannah’s local flavor could pull off and was the perfect way to introduce those visiting from outside of Savannah to the feel of the day.
Athens based folk/indie rock group Family and Friends were certainly one of the bigger surprises of the day for me. I hadn’t heard of the powerful sextet prior to Revival Fest but they certainly made their presence felt while they were there. Family and Friends offered up a set that was teeming with energy and it was apparent as most of the band members could barely contain the smiles on their faces as they performed. The jangly guitar work paired perfectly with a double percussive attack that was both thrilling to watch and one of the tightest sets of the day.
As one of the headliners of the festival, Futurebirds certainly seemed set on living up to every expectation that the audience had for them. After a 9 hour day of festival activities, bands, and libations, you would think that the crowd would be a bit worn out by the time Futurebirds hit the stage late at night. However, Futurebirds’ enthusiasm and vigor positively overtook the crowd. Their blend of Southern-tinged indie rock was the perfect way to cap off the night and truly encapsulated what Revival Fest is all about.
This husband and wife duo from Charleston, South Carolina was certainly one of the most interesting bands featured on the Bridge View Stage. Self-described as “a metal band…if it were 1927,” Megan Jean and the Klay Family Band brought a sound that was a little bit blues, a little bit soul, and a little bit nerdy. Honestly, how many songs can you name that feature a washboard and are about zombies? Jean has a voice that is both haunting and soothing, and when accompanied by backing drums and banjo, together the duo creates a sound that doesn’t betray their size.
A certain image comes to mind when you hear that the next band is called Dirty Bourbon River Show and is from New Orleans. At least it did for me, and I was not disappointed. If they looked the part in matching dark purple button ups, some in vests, some in coats, some in top hats, and even a pair of sunglasses at twilight (reminiscent of Elwood Blues a la Blues Brothers), they certainly made it that much easier to feel that you were right there with them in their hometown once they began playing. The mix of brass (including saxophone, trombone, trumpet, and sousaphone, among others), accordion, drums, guitars, piano, and various other instruments put you in the mindset of a good ol’ musical party down in the French Quarter. A highlight of the set was the incorporation of the ladder used by the sound company as percussion during an extended drum solo.
After a dreary (but thankfully not rainy) day, the sun finally decided to make an appearance as Revival Fest alumni Cedric Burnside and Trenton Ayers took to the Bridge View Stage. Grandson of Mississippi blues legend RL Burnside, and accomplished vocalist, songwriter, and drummer in his own right, Burnside and guitarist/vocalist were the perfect choice to transition the festival from the folk rock feel of the day into the southern rock feel of the night.
With the release of their newest album, In Tongues, in August and a performance on Letterman in January, Roadkill Ghost Choir out of Florida has made a name with their multi-layered sound and haunting vocals, which fit in with feel of the Railroad Museum quite nicely. Lead singer/ guitarist Shepard was especially impressed with the space, and stated that he felt the band needed to play all future shows surrounded by trains and train parts.