If you don’t know the scoop on Statts Fest, start with a visit to Friends of Statts on the web and then go like the Facebook page. Saturday’s festival at The Jinx was a major fundraiser for Jason Statts, who was paralyzed in a shooting in 2008 and who continues to face some daunting medical challenges, not to mention expenses.
The annual gatherings have the primary intent of helping out Jason, but they have also become community touchstones for a broad cross-section of the Savannah music scene. Jason was on hand for much of the action on Saturday, and the crowd was spread out through the evening and deep into the night, peaking just before the end of the silent auction (at which I was lucky to win 8 screenprinted Baroness posters donated by John Dyer Baizley).
The short sets propelled the night’s action — an incredibly satisfying night of music, especially for those of us who stuck it out pretty much throughout. I took a couple of short breathers, but I got a good listen and a decent shot or two of all the Statts Fest performances except for a brief and unannounced set by Keith Kozel, who took the stage just before Bottles and Cans.
I’ll likely post a couple of full sets of acts where I got especially nice photos, but here’s a quick walk-through of Statts Fest 2014. And remember: even if you missed the big show Saturday, you still can donate anytime.
Bottles and Cans got things rolling with Ray Lundy’s wonderfully raspy and strong blues:
Next came City Hotel, a bluegrass-influenced string band that always inspires.
And then Devil At My Side — an act that I had regrettably never heard. It’s basically the players in Niche plus Tony Beasley/Whiskey Dick. Excellent southern rock — sure hope they play again soon.
Hot Pink Interior hadn’t performed in ages, so it was especially great to see them playing to a near full house just after the auction closed. As she left the stage, drummer Robyn Reeder made a comment that likely resonated with others in the room: “Doctors, my ass.”
And then the young punk band Crazy Bag Lady lit things up and transported some in the crowd right back to 1978, 1980.
CUSSES delivered a short and especially fine set. The band didn’t have time to set up the elaborate lighting and staging that sometimes marks their performances, but that just put more emphasis on the driving rock.
Dave Williams introduced Conquer/Devour‘s set by noting that he was “the guy that Jason slowed a bullet down for.” The band consists of members of Jason’s band Surt the Destroyer and Athon from Black Tusk.
Hardcore act Forced Entry was just the jolt of energy that I needed at 11:45 to keep me going through the night.
Black Tusk is one of Savannah’s most successful bands, so it was especially great to catch them just before they head across the country to go back into the studio.
And, finally, some classic, witty burlesque from the Savannah Sweet Tease:
As I said above, I’ll have more photos to publish here on the blog in the coming days. Tom will be posting about Statts Fest too, and maybe others will. I’ll have lots more shots on our hissing lawns Facebook page eventually as well.
Thanks to all who make Statts Fest happen every year — and thanks to Jason for being an ongoing source of inspiration day by day and year after year.