The final day of Savannah Stopover 2015 was marked by strong crowds, thrilling bands, and beautiful weather. Hard to believe that Stopover was just celebrating its 5th year.
There are many ways in which Stopover can grow and change in the coming years, and we’ll have some more to say about that in future posts. Over the next week or so, I expect that we’ll share a lot of galleries and more detailed recaps of the 3-day festival, so take this post for what it is: one music fan’s wanderings on the festival’s final day.
Yes, I could get a press pass, but I’m also a fan and supporter of live music, so I buy a VIP pass. It’s pretty easy for it to pay for itself, by the way: a few drinks at the artists’ lounge, a good time at the Sunday afternoon wrap party, and a few special events more than pay for the difference between the VIP pass and a regular one.
Saturday started with a wonderful VIP gathering outdoors at The Grey on MLK. Chef Mashama cooked up some pork, oysters, an eggplant dish, red rice, salad (which seemed almost insultingly healthy after two nights of seeing bands in bars). this mountain from Johnson City performed — a perfect band for a perfect day.
I slipped out of the party a few minutes early to try to catch Black Water Choir — the kickoff band for the Furious Hooves showcase at Ampersand — but the show ended a little early and I missed it. In the first couple of years of Stopover, the festival struggled to keep all the venues on time, but that has become less and less of an issue, and occasionally the sets do even end early; that is a very difficult thing to get used to if you live in Savannah.
So I headed right over to Wild Wing for Lilly Hiatt, who has a gorgeous, rich voice, strong songs, and an especially engaging stage presence (and seemed just as nice off stage too). Then I bounced over to The Jinx, just across Ellis Square, for Las Rosas’ excellent afternoon rock set. Then back to Wild Wing for rising star Margo Price and her act Margo & The Price Tags. The show was more upbeat than I expected, and I’m betting that you’ll be hearing about Margo & The Price Tags for a long time. And then I slipped back across the square for Justin Collins at The Jinx — another super-talented band.
Adia Victoria was up next at Wild Wing. I had already fixed on her as one of the lesser-known Stopover artists who could totally break out in the next year or so, and Saturday’s set confirmed my feelings, and then some. It was more of a rock show than I expected, and despite the facts that Adia Victoria only has two songs out in the world and that probably no one in attendance had seen her live, the crowd pulled forward — and then forward some more. I’ll have a lot more photos later of Adia Victoria and some of these other acts:
At that point, there was a late afternoon lull in the Stopover schedule, but — thankfully — things were running behind at Hang Fire and I was able to catch some of Lace Curtains. What a tight, witty, fun band. Sure hope they come back this way.
At that point, my night aligned with the nights of hundreds of other Stopover passholders. We all descended on Trinity United Methodist Church. Tall Tall Trees had the early crowd enthralled, and Parlour Tricks (no photo below, but I have some on my other camera that I will post later) got a great reception too, as the crowd just kept building for Matthew E. White and San Fermin. White was awesome — I’ll have more to say about that show later. At 9 I headed out to check some other venues and planned to come back for San Fermin, but you know what they say about way leading on to way . . .
I can see Savannah-based acts anytime, so I didn’t see many during Stopover — but I made a big exception for Wet Socks. The Jinx was packed; Wet Socks killed it. Again. Over at Hang Fire, there was an excellent crowd for the duo Sales, another act that I hope to see again soon, and then I wandered with friends down to Congress Street Social Club for another excellent duo: Baby Bee from New Orleans.
With no expectations, I followed friends to Wild Wing then for The Kickback from Chicago. Lead singer Billy Yost is originally from South Dakota and has an intense, quirky, self-deprecating, funny, and totally charismatic stage presence, and the band can sure rip through some songs. Next we wandered back down Congress to Ampersand for Born Cages, a Stopover alum that I’d never seen before. Another excellent rock band that had the crowd dancing long before the end of the set.
At that point, I was lucky to slip into The Jinx, which was at or near capacity all night, while Savannah’s CUSSES was finishing up one of their signature power rock sets with spectacular staging, and then I stayed right where I was for Diarrhea Planet. (Between CUSSES and Diarrhea Planet, I also had time for sit-down conversation with my old friend Bobby Zarem. If you’re a festival organizer, you know you’re doing something right when a 78-year-old PR legend shows up for latenight rock and roll at The Jinx.)
Diarrhea Planet was a thrilling final band for me, and I gather that fans were just as thrilled by some of the other acts that closed the festival. But you can only be in so many places at once.
As I noted above, Stopover followup posts are in the works.