hissing lawns | a music blog in Savannah, Ga.

I scrambled to make it to Hang Fire just in time to catch Wet Socks‘ set at their album release “party”. Let’s be honest though, every time Wet Socks plays (especially Hang Fire) it’s a party. High-spirited, surf-infused, insanely catchy garage punk coupled with a young, dedicated following well lubricated with giant PBR’s is pretty much a recipe for a good time. Friday night was no different…no wait…actually it was, my $7 cover got me a copy of Wet Socks new CD Drips. The live show was still a party, but I’m more than a little glad that Philip Cope of Retro Futurist Records(who are building one hell of a stable of artists) captured that same atmosphere in the studio. The CD sounds great.

Not only are Hunter and John writing garage punk tunes in the vein of Jay Reatard, Ty Segall, and King Khan and The Shrines, the best of their songs are on par with those artists, too. Seriously. That’s really saying something. Sure, it’s a little pared down due to the fact that they’re a duo, but somehow that just adds to the whole thing.

If you enjoyed the Shonen Knife show, enjoy early punk or love the higher energy songs on Nuggets: Original Artyfacts from the First Psychedelic Era anthology, you owe it to yourself to check out Drips from Wet Socks, or better yet, get to a show. Yes, there may be a pit, but it’s not bone-headed aggressive moshing, it’s the kids not being able to stand still in the face of the music. That’s always been a good thing, from the formative days of rock straight through to the present. Long live garage rock, long live Wet Socks.

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Click through for more pictures, apologies that I didn’t catch the opening bands. Continue reading →

The guys from Velvet Caravan hardly need an introduction for anyone living in Savannah, as their brand of ‘gypsy jazz’ has proved to be one-of-a-kind in this town & region. The band pulled off a two night stint with the Hilton Head Symphony Orchestra, recorded & released a CD, played the Cabaret Series at the Lucas Theatre, won the ‘Best Band’ award in Savannah Magazine, and recently performed at this year’s Revival Fest…just to name a few of their more recent accomplishments.

Each member of Velvet Caravan is a professional musician in their own right, performing regularly in a variety of other well known groups & break-downs in addition to the full band version of Velvet Caravan.

The accompanying photos were shot at last weekend’s Savannah Jazz Festival in Forsyth Park.

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Last Friday saw legendary Japanese trio, Shonen Knife, make their debut in Savannah down at The Dollhouse. Their sequined dresses and songs about cats, green tea ice cream, and ramen noodles were just the tip of the iceberg as they sporadically threw in heavy breakdowns that drew some definite influences from acts like Black Sabbath as well as some hardcore inspired riffs to keep things interesting. Not quite the kind of ear crushing sounds you’d expect to hear from Daisy Rock guitars for sure.

The power pop/punk act had nothing but good things to say about their short time in Savannah and were certainly just as excited to be in Savannah as we were to welcome them to the city. Here’s a few shots of them as well as Savanannah locals COEDS who opened up the night to go. A few more photos after the jump and Tom has posted some pics from the show too.

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Ultra eccentric super cult punk pop band (their words, not mine) Shonen Knife played a great, high energy set of Buzzcocks/Ramones indebted rock to a good crowd of music fans at the Dollhouse Friday night. It was impossible not to get sucked in by their sweet, speedy tunes about the usual rock stuff……green tea ice cream, ramen, chocobars and the like. The long running legendary outfit from Osaka, Japan has toured with Nirvana, recorded multiple Peel Sessions and even had a video featured on Beavis and Butthead. Matching outfits were worn, devil horns were thrown, pop punk was played, and it was all very, very, very great. Check out each member’s thoughts on Savannah here, here, and here (totally worth clicking through).

Savannah’s own Coeds opened with their modern take on classic alternative music. The band is tight and energetic, and Anna’s vocals recall the best and more aggressive of the female new wave singers, maybe headed toward Riot grrl at times. And, hey, you don’t see a broken bass string too often, especially the low string. That might be a first for me, actually. Great set, and an inspired choice to set the stage for Shonen Knife.

What a great night of music.

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Click through for more images of attractive people doing visually interesting things.

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I’m the guy people call when they want to go to a concert and need someone to go with them. So off I went to Columbia Wednesday night to see Jack White. Not The White Stripes, not The Dead Weather, not The Raconteurs (am I missing a Jack White project? And yes, I know about The Upholsterers), but Jack White, solo, if solo means full band with violins, theremin and an overabundance of hideous blue light.

It’s hard to complain about Township Auditorium (“Township Auditorium”? Really? Was “Place To See a Show” or “Venue” already taken?), parking was close, cheap and easy, security was reasonable and drinks, while overpriced as expected, were easy enough to get. The sightlines looked to be pretty great from everywhere, the interior was nice looking and the sound was top notch. The crowd was a mix of fairly young to well seasoned music fans, with more uber fans than I am used to seeing at a show. You know the type, “Jack White” tee shirt and carrying a big bag of freshly purchased merch.

Olivia Jean was the support act and it was easy to see why, her style of rock was definitely in the same vein as the headliner. I had never heard of her (she still has less than 800 Facebook likes), but the songs were solid, with catchier, slightly heavier numbers toward the end of the set. Repeated listening would probably open up her songs, too. Overall, pretty cool.

After a short break the curtains opened again and the stage, band and audience were suddenly bathed in really beautiful blue light that would vary ever so slightly over the course of the night, from light blue, to dark blue, and, just to add some variety, grey blue.

The band consisted of Jack White, obviously, plus an excellent drummer, bass player, violinist, pianist/keyboardist and a multi-instrumentalist who helped fill out the strings or, if needed, manipulate a theremin. Jack White himself switched often between electric and acoustic guitars and piano. The setlist was drawn from across White’s various projects with a handful of tunes from Lazeretto and I can’t think of a “hit” that wasn’t played. Some of the people around me who had seen White before seemed particularly excited by some deeper cuts that were included, but I didn’t hear any songs that I had not heard before. Slightly different arrangements of some of the more popular songs made them more interesting to me than hearing them the same way for the umpteenth time, I didn’t even recognize “Fell in Love with a Girl” until the vocals hit, which was great. Almost 2 hours later, the band closed with “Seven Nation Army”, with White encouraging the audience to help with the now popular soccer stadium melody.

I’m sure more than a few fans left the auditorium having experienced the greatest show they had ever seen. While I’m not in that group, I was glad to cross off one of the few remaining “stadium” size artists I want to see from my list, and all in all it was a pretty satisfying night.

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More pictures after the jump. Did I mention the lighting blue?

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Hi guys,
Well, I guess SCAD is back into session this week. I hope that some of you reading this will “share” this page, as I am hoping to spread the word to some of those new SCAD students to “like” the hissing lawns Facebook page. This site has several writers and photographers that cover many different aspects of the local music scene. If one follows hissing lawns and picks up a Connect Savannah weekly, you should be pretty well informed about most of the going-ons happening in the downtown music scene.

This week is another music-packed week downtown. Don’t forget that the Savannah Jazz Festival will be going on all weekend at Forsyth Park. Thursday is my favorite night of the festival, Blues Night, but the rest of the festival will be enjoyable as well.

This week will be another exciting week, with many fun shows. These are some of my recommendations for some shows to try to catch while you are out and about this week.

Thursday 9/25 – I will be starting the night out at Forsyth Park for the Jazz Festival to catch Eric Culberson, followed by the legendary Bob Margolin (Muddy Waters’ guitarist from ’73-’80) and most of Shemikia Copeland. Then I’ll head back to Congress Street and bounce around for a bit.
Eric Culberson (7p), Steady Rollin’ Bob Margolin (8:15), Shemikia Copeland Band (9:30) – Savannah Jazz Festival in Forstyth Park
Chop Tops (rockabilly from Santa Cruz) – Jinx
TimeCop vs DangerSnake (Matt & Zac from the Accomplices) – Molly MacPherson’s
Les Racquet (Brooklyn rock) – Barrelhouse South ($10)

Friday 9/26 – This night has too many choices. There are several shows going on at the same time, not sure where I will end up. These are some of the possibilities.  Make sure to try to catch one of Savannah’s best and most unique bands, Velvet Caravan at Forsyth for an early show.
Velvet Caravan (6p) – Savannah Jazz Festival at Forsyth Park
Danielle Hicks a& The 8-Ohm BandRail Pub (6-9)
Ambrose (Savannah R&B) – Blowin’ Smoke (7p)
Shonen Knife (japanese girl punk), COEDS (Savannah rawk n’ roll) – Dollhouse Studios ($10 advance, $15 at door)
Accomplices, Waits & CoJinx ($5, some of Savannah’s best Americana groups, Accomplices to open)
Jubee & The Morning After (space yacht funk) – Congress Street Social Club
Wet Socks, Couches, Culture Vulture, Beneath TreesHang Fire

Saturday 9/27 - Not as many tough choices tonight, but this will be a fun night. I’ll probably start the night heading down to River Street for a little country & western at the Warehouse, then head over to the Jinx for a great night of music with two excellent bands. In between, I will probably catch a little of the weird rock at Barrelhouse. Who knows, I might even make it to Congress Street Social Club for a little rap.
Damon & The ShitkickersWarehouse
American Hologram (Americana from Savannah), City Hotel (Savannah bluegrass) – Jinx
OmingnomeBarrelhouse South
Werdlife Of Dope SandwichCongress Street Social Club

Sunday 9/28 - Looks like an Americana afternoon followed with some guitar rock at the Barrelhouse.
Waits & CoMoon River (5p)
Daryl Hance Power TrioBarrelhouse South

Tuesday 9/30 – A night of music from one of Savannah’s best singer-songwriters at a very unique venue.
Greg WilliamsFoxy Loxy Cafe (8p-11p)

On what felt like a true Fall evening I drove up to Athens, Georgia to catch The Accomplices as they rounded out their most recent tour. This two week jaunt took them across the Southeast, with most notably a stop in Nashville, TN at the Americana Music Conference for not only a gig of their own, but a chance to network, visit old friends, and be fans themselves for a little while.

While Tuesday evenings are not exactly the most well attended nights to perform anywhere, they had an enthusiastic, albeit smaller, crowd and one young dancer who couldn’t seem to get enough. The Nowhere Bar sits in the shadow of the famed Georgia Theatre where they had performed the night before. Opening up the evening was Monkeygrass Jug Band, which is fronted by Brandon Nelson McCoy, whom some of you may be familiar with from his time in Savannah as an Armstrong student, and roots-style performances.

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We love Wet Socks here at hissing lawns, and it’s not just because the band’s name evokes the grunginess of the everyday, the creepiness of the ordinary.

We love Wet Socks for the tight, high-energy garage rock that Hunter Jayne and John Zimmerman have been refining for over two years now. (I think a July 2012 post at Savannah Unplugged was first time I wrote about Wet Socks.) The live shows — especially at Hang Fire — are thrilling, and their occasional recorded stuff has been pretty awesome too, like this video for “New Crush Pt. 2″:

Wet Socks- “New Crush Pt. 2″ from Soft Science on Vimeo.

Wet Socks has done some recording with the label Soft Science, but the first full-length “Drips” will be released on CD this weekend on the Retro Futurist label, founded and operated by core members of Kylesa. Just $7 gets you into Hang Fire and a copy of the CD. Click on through for more info:

Gotta love the cover art too:

Tom, Petee, and I have all posted pics of Wet Socks — mostly from sets that are so dark that no sane person would be shooting photos. Here are a few:

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Here’s Roadkill Ghost Choir‘s “A Blow to the Head” off the new album In Tongues:

There are lots of things to appreciate about Roadkill Ghost Choir — including the variations in tempo, the dark poetry of the lyrics, the subtlety of the orchestrations, and Andrew Shepard’s haunting voice. The band played an especially fine set at Revival Fest here in Savannah last weekend; their sound sure seemed right at home in the industrial space of the old railway paint shops at the Georgia State Railroad Museum (usually just called The Roundhouse by those of us who live in Savannah).

This is the last of separate photo sets that I’ll be posting from the festival (other contributors might have some on the way), but I’ll soon upload more shots of all the acts to the hissing lawns Facebook page. Likes appreciated. Click here for all our Revival Fest coverage. More photos after the jump, and click for bigger versions:

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