hissing lawns | a music blog in Savannah, Ga.

Kishi Bashi played on the final night of Geekend, an annual conference presented each year here in Savannah by The Creative Coast. The weekend is about geeky stuff, and this year there was also good music for attendees booked by MusicFile Productions.

Kishi Bashi and Tall Tall Trees performed in the Creators’ Foundry on Boundary Street just west of downtown. The long, narrow industrial space had recently been home to SCAD’s sculpture department; some of us remember when kayak maker Charlie Reeves created amazing things there.

I’m not sure how The Creative Coast plans to configure the layout if and when entrepreneurs start leasing individual and communal spaces in the building, but it’s certainly an excellent venue for shows of the scale of Kishi Bashi.

I missed opener Tall Tall Trees, but he played with the headliner too and will be back in Savannah for the 2015 Stopover. I’d never heard Kishi Bashi’s bold, fun mix of eclectic rock styles — a real thrill. The lighting was a little hot for really good photos — a detail that could easily be refined for future shows at the Creators’ Foundry, if there are any.

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Hey guys,
Sorry I’m a little late on this week’s blog, I’ve been hopping around all week. Once again, there were plenty of shows going on last week, I hope some of you managed to see some live music. I did get to see my first guitar vs accordian head-cutting duel Thursday night at the great Walter Parks show at Trinity last night. There are plenty of more good shows from last week I could talk about, but I am thinking most of you just wanna hear about this weekend. I would like to mention that if you are only going to one show this week, consider Wednesday’s show at the Lucas. It is an all-ages show, a tribute to The Band. Even if you think you don’t know the band (sigh, I’m getting old), I bet you will know several songs. And they are going to be performed by some of Savannah’s finest musicians. This might be a show that you would really regret missing. Here are some other recommendations for the week.

Friday 21st – Lots of choices tonight. If you go anywhere, you will probably see a good show. I plan to stary the night off at the Bean with Eric Sommer, then probably sample the bands up and down Congress Street. If you live on Tybee, you should head over to the Sand Bar and catch Ben Keiser’s new band.
Futurebirds, this mountain, Amythyst Kiah - Southbound  Brewery (8p, $28)
Eric SommerSentient Bean (8p)
Rotten Blush, Forced Entry, Wizard Rifle (Portland stoner-doom metal) - Jinx
Blackfoot Gypsies (Nashville blues rock) – Congress Street Social Club
Les RaquetBarrelhouse South
Magic Rocks - Molly MacPherson’s
Velvet CaravanJazz’d
Ben Keiser Band (Savannah blues) – Sand Bar (Tybee, 9p)

Saturday 22nd – I plan on spending most of my night at the Train Wreck’s CD release party at the Jinx. As an added bonus, Everymen, a wild gypsy music band, is playing with them. This may be a show to write home about.
Train Wrecks, City HotelSouthbound Brewery (2-6p, $20/25, includes some beer samples)
Train Wrecks, EverymenJinx ($5)
Psychomagic, Santoros, Crazy Bag LadyAmpersand ($5)

Sunday 23rd
Savannah Songwriters (Arsena Schroeder, Ben Wells, Pete Love and Jon Waits)Johnny Harris (6p)

Tuesday – 25th
Ricardo & Sasha (of Velvet Caravan) – Foxy Loxy Cafe

Wednesday 26th – As I said, the Lucas show is the draw of the week, in a week with many good shows. I am expecting a really good show tonight. After the Lucas show, I hope to catch most of the show at the Jinx. Happy Thanksgiving Eve!
Life Is A Carnival – Lucas TheaterAccomplices, Train Wrecks, many guest stars ($20, all ages, 7p)
Passafire, Niche, Hip AbductionJinx ($10)

A gorgeous day, an early show (8 p.m.), an unusual venue — what’s not to love about tonight’s show from the folks at Savannah Stopover with Futurebirds, this mountain, and Amythyst Kiah at Southbound Brewing Company here in Savannah? (Click here for details.)

On top of all that, Southbound will unveil a new beer tonight, “Johnny Brewtah”, which is named after Futurebirds’ “Johnny Utah”.

Futurebirds recently played Revival Fest, which is under the same MusicFile Productions umbrella as is Savannah Stopover, but it’s been a little while since this mountain and Amythyst Kiah made their way to Savannah from the mountains of Tennessee.

this mountain comes to town with their new album Still Waters:

Still Waters has more subtleties in the compositions and more emotions in the lyrics than this mountain’s first full-length future ghost, so I’m especially curious to see how the band’s live show has evolved.

Click here for coverage of tonight’s show in Do Savannah, and click here for an interview with Futurebirds’ Carter King in Connect Savannah.

And of course we’ve got some photos to share of all three acts at various Savannah appearances: Continue reading →

The mood was almost as heavy as the music Friday night at The Jinx. Weedeater always draws a good crowd, but the room was filled with past Jinx regulars, out of town musicians and other rarely seen faces from the Savannah heavy music scene, in addition to the current crop of local metal fans. Everyone was there for the music, or maybe even some catharsis through the music, but I suspect a good many people there were seeking some comfort in each other’s company after the loss of our mutual friend, Athon.

The room was at capacity, with a “one in, one out” policy in place much of the night. Each band expressed their condolences and appreciation for being there in their own way and multiple toasts to the Black Tusk bassist were offered during the evening. Atlanta’s insanely tight 3 piece Lazer/Wulf opened the show with their mostly instrumental, mathy, and technical metal gymnastics. I’ve been in awe every time I’ve seen them, and Friday was no exception. I had trouble keeping my head banging in sync with the musical time changes more than once. Highly recommended if you get a chance to see them.

I’d never seen Full of Hell before, and when they started their set I was toward the rear of the room. Over the roar of the music I could hear throat shredding vocals, but couldn’t figure out who was doing the “singing”. I finally located the vocalist on the tv monitors above the bar and realized he was on the floor with the crowd which erupted into a pulsing circle pit several times. Super heavy duty and brutal stuff.

The last time that I saw Weedeater, frontman/bass player Dixie Dave was having some kind of “issue” with his equipment and was attempting to fix it (read as “he was beating on his amp”). Athon jumped onto the stage to try to help and when Dixie realized it was him, he hugged him and the amp magically was working again. Weedeater has a history with Black Tusk, having shared many stages over the years, many pictures of the two bands together made it into the memorial posts and both bands are featured in Slow Southern Steel, a highly recommended documentary on the Southern metal scene. Dixie’s ever present bottle of Jim Beam was raised many times over the course of the night in memory of “J.V.A.”. Andrew from Black Tusk also joined the band on stage for their cover of Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Gimme Back My Bullets”. Good stuff.

I took some pictures, heavy on the Weedeater. Here’s a few, click through for more.

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Check it out:

Graveface Records & Curiosities at 5 West 40th St. is just over three years old, and in the past year especially the store has proved itself an important all-ages venue. Because of Savannah’s alcohol laws, it’s hard to have an all-ages venue in this town, and we also have been short on venues for all sorts of experimental acts.

The store, which is also the physical home of the Graveface label, is discussed at some length in this excellent interview with Ryan Graveface from WSAV’s The Southern Scene:

Favorite line: “The label was basically just started out of paranoia. I didn’t trust anyone to put out the stuff that I was writing.”

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A few minutes before the Reverend Horton Heat took the stage on Tuesday a friend of mine turned to me and said something along the lines of, “The Jinx is really doing a great job of bringing in big acts.”

I agreed, and we both noticed that it was probably paying off in dividends for the Congress street music venue.

The evidence of our conversation is in the amount of people that squeezed into The Jinx even on a Tuesday to see the legendary king of rockabilly.

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The venerated priest of rock ’n’ roll opened the show with a standard rockabilly jam that led straight into “Smell of Gasoline” off the the brand new album, REV.

While it’s most certainly fun to listen to the Reverend Horton Heat’s recorded version,seeing them live is – and excuse the simplicity of this statement – pretty freaking amazing.

The Reverend (Jim Heath) has a well rehearsed and well executed show, which might come off as a gimmick — a staged performance that is repeated every night with the robotic arms of seasoned musicians. (Yeah, that might be obvious, but let’s see you do what he does!)

It’s still really hard to not stand in awe of these guys. Heath, of course, was the attraction, but most surprising was Jimbo Wallace (upright bass) and Scott Churilla (drums). Hands down, they were probably one of the best rhythm sections I’ve ever seen live.

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Last Sunday, after hearing of Athon’s death, I posted a few photos from Black Tusk shows over the last couple of years. I didn’t have a lot to say in that post — I was just shocked and saddened like so many others.

Fortunately, many of Athon’s friends and fellow musicians have found the words this week to capture the tragedy of his passing and the beauty of his life. We’ve been learning a lot more about Athon this week in the reflections about the lives he touched, and I decided to pull together some of the public memorials into a single blog post here. If you’re logged in as a Facebook page, you’ll have trouble seeing some of these, so log into Facebook as yourself if that’s a problem. The embeds might be a little glitchy in other ways, but you should be able to click on through.

I’m sure there are many more remembrances that we could have included, so if you want to send us some URLs via the comments here or the hissing lawns Facebook page, we’ll add some others.

Black Tusk actually played an important role in the short history of this blog, which was founded in Sept. 2013. I knew Savannah needed a better platform for sharing news about bands like Black Tusk — the second post in hissing lawns’ history was about their fall 2013 European tour. Not long after that post, Tom Cartmel and I bonded over online discussion of Black Tusk photos. Tom has now posted dozens of galleries here and has helped define the blog’s aesthetic.

As we mourned Athon this week, Tom told me that shooting a Black Tusk show was the first time when he thought that he could take some decent photos. From that show:

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And here, in something of a jumbled order, with lots more after the jump, are some of the posts that have caught our attention this week:

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I’m really excited about Graveface Records and Curiosities as a venue lately. Sure it might be a Sunday evening, or Tuesday, or whatever, and turnout may be hit or miss, but the recent bookings have been consistently bold, interesting, and, well, different. As much as I love the acts that consistently play our small city, I love to see new acts stop through.

Such was the case Sunday night for the “DAY OF THE SKULLS MINI-FEST w/ Dope Body + Roomrunner + Paul Metzger + Tim Kaiser + Ttotals + Psychic Teens + Table + Ross Fish”. Yes, that’s a mouthful, and, yes, that’s a bunch of artists, and, yes, it was a ton of fun.

In a nutshell: I’ve been loving Dope Body‘s new album Lifer and live they were AMAZING. Call it punk, call it noise rock, call it aggro, but whatever you call it, I LOVE it. Roomrunner, Psychic Teens and Ttotals also rocked and Paul Metzger, Tim Kaiser and Jeff Zagers (Was/is he Table? Or was he a substitute? I don’t know.) made interesting soundscapes with various electronics, instruments, knob turning, and manipulations. I missed Ross Fish. But, yeah, DOPE BODY! Mesmerizing.

You guys missed it, but I took pictures. More after the jump.

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Last Saturday morning, I rolled out of bed about an hour after the winner crossed the finish line of the Savannah Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon and made my way to Forsyth Park for a spirited set by Phillip Phillips and his excellent band.

For the first few years, the marathon fell short of early hopes in terms of headliners, but I was really impressed with Phillips’ performance. He has a handful of legitimate pop hits and an inviting presence on stage — even on the flawed outdoor stage in Forsyth. Phillips, who won American Idol in 2012 (a show I’ve never watched, btw), also seems to have a great deal of respect for his fellow musicians. Some of Saturday’s songs ventured deeper into southern rock while others seemed on the verge of becoming jammy, but Phillips is at best with the high-energy pop ballads like “Home” and “Gone, Gone, Gone”.

I took some photos — a couple here with more after the jump:

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