A Guide to the 2017 Savannah Stopover
Now in its seventh year, the Savannah Stopover offers music fans and artists a taste of SXSW but at a more civilized pace. Over the course of three days, over 80 bands will play at a dozen or so Savannah venues all of which are within walking distance of each other. .Passes are still available.
There's not too much in the way of day shows, so visitors have time to check out the pretty cool town (and the food trucks)
The 2017 edition is this weekend (March 9 - 11) and we picked 10 artists we would definitely check out. Check out the list below, in alphabetical order (with even more suggestions after the list). Who did we miss?
Even when she plays for crowds who have never heard her music, Julien Baker can silence an entire room. Her great 2015 debut album and storied live shows have landed her a deal on Matador, won over the likes of Brand New and Dashboard Confessional (who both covered her), and more. And she does it all with just her clean electric guitar and voice. If you've yet to experience a Julien Baker show, we can't recommend this one enough. [Andrew Sacher]
As heard on his debut album Jumping the Shark, Australia's Secretly Canadian-signed Alex Cameron makes moody synthpop in the Springsteen-covering-Suicide sense. The record's good, but the live show is unforgettable. The last time I saw him, he was rocking a Nick Cave haircut and a silver suede suit, and his quirky stage banter was as entertaining as the songs themselves. Not one to shy away from some '80s cheese, Alex's only bandmate on stage was a sax player. [AS]
After spending over a decade making some of the most beloved indie-punk around (as a member of PS Eliot, Swearin', and more), Allison Crutchfield went solo and quickly inked a deal with Merge. The label, which is also home to her twin sister Katie's band Waxahatchee (which Allison used to be a live member of), released her first full length Tourist In This Town in January, and it's already one of the better indie rock albums of this young year. While her previous projects were known for loud, distorted guitars, this one's softer and makes use of various synthesizers. No matter what style of music Allison is working in, her songwriting is a triumph. [AS]
Like Charles Bradley, Lee Fields is a died-in-the-wool funk/soul lifer, whose '70s singles were appreciated by crate-diggers but not widely known beyond those circles. His career got unexpected, but welcome and well-earned, second act in the soul revival of the late '00s that also put the late Sharon Jones back on the map. With a tight band in The Expressions, his stage presence and moves that earned him the reputation as "Little J.B." have shined ever since. [Bill Pearis]
Ezra Furman’s music can be bare-nerve emotional, sad, optimistic, funny and cathartic -- often within one song. All of this comes to dynamic life at Ezra's concerts which sometimes play out like a one-person show. Festivals can be a blur but with that undeniable charisma -- and some really great songs -- you are unlikely to forget an Ezra Furman show. [BP]
Half Waif is a band led by Nandi Rose Plunkett, and she and all of her bandmates also play in Pinegrove. While Pinegrove makes alt-country-ish indie rock, Half Waif make shiny, electronic art pop. They recently signed to Cascine, where their sound feels right at home. Their first release for that label is the form/a EP, possibly Half Waif's best release yet. The synths are bolder, Nandi's singing is more confident than ever, and the hooks won't leave your head for days. [AS]
JEFF the Brotherhood
Jake and Jamin Orrall have been making pedal-to-the-metal riff rock as JEFF the Brotherhood for more than a decade. Following an ill-fated major label experience and attempt at an expanded lineup, the Orralls are back to doing what they do best: laying down the heavy grooves as a two piece (and doing it via their own label, Infinity Cat). They make enough noise on their own and don't need anyone else to start a party -- as evidenced on 2016's rip-roaring Zone and at any JEFF show. [BP]
Vagabon is the project of Lætitia Tamko, who was born in Cameroon but has been living in NYC for a while. She put out an EP in 2014 and has become a staple of NYC's indie rock scene since then, and her first full length -- this year's Infinite Worlds -- is giving her career a serious boost. Most of it's the kind of sometimes-folky, sometimes-crushing indie rock that gives off some Hop Along vibes, but Vagabon also has an electronic side. A new song that she debuted at her sold-out record release show in Brooklyn was just her with synths and a drum machine. It's clear that she's on the rise -- check her out while she's still playing these smaller shows. [AS]
The Toronto four-piece make what they call "bent pop," music that is undeniably catchy but also prone to fly off in odd angles at a moment's notice. The band's debut was one of the more fun rock blasts of last year, and they definitely bring that energy to the stage. [BP]
New wave/punk veteran Wreckless Eric is best known for his classic debut single, 1977's "Whole Wide World," but he has continued making great records in the 40 years since, including 2015's amERICa. Like contemporaries Robyn Hitchcock and Billy Bragg, Eric is quite the raconteur and nearly every song has a great story, and a few of those a guaranteed at any given show, making him a gracious host even for the uninitiated. [BP]