The Savannah Stopover Music Festival began in 2011 after founder Kayne-not-Kanye Lanahan realized that dozens of bands were routing down I-95 each March before hanging a right on I-10 and heading to Austin for SXSW.
hissing lawns has been around since fall of 2013, and, for the last couple of Stopovers, we’ve posted hundreds of photos and written all kinds of commentary about the festival. For this post, four of us — Tom Cartmel, Sarah Weitman, Petee Worrell, and me — have teamed up to share our top picks of Savannah Stopover bands that will be playing in Austin during SXSW.
Obviously, all lists are arbitrary — we could have added a ton more here — but these bands really made an impression on us and we can say confidently that music fans in Austin ought to check them out. A few are proverbial “buzz bands” (I can’t believe I just used that expression) and a few are more established. Some appear on various “SXSW must-see” lists, but others don’t. So, here they are, in more or less alphabetical order, with one of each band’s previously posted videos and a couple of shots from their Savannah shows.
Why you should see them at SXSW: All Dogs lures you in with lovely melodies and Maryn Jones’ lilting, unassuming stage presence; they’re a band you’d invite to crash at your place after the show (but not in a creepy way). All Dogs might get you with the sweet, but you’ll stick around for the salt in the lyrics. – bill
And The Kids
Why you should see them at SXSW: And The Kids‘ brand of indie-pop is a unique mix of jangly indie rock with lo-fi pop influences. Their debut album, Turn To Each Other, is fleshed out with synthesizers and other electronic effects sometimes absent from the live show, but the touring trio’s sheer energy more than makes up for the difference. – Petee
The Ballroom Thieves
Why you should see them at SXSW: They might be from Boston, but The Ballroom Thieves seemed right at home performing in a church in the South. Together, they have harmonies sweeter than molasses, the growl of the blues, and just a touch of rock and roll. – Sarah
Why you should see them at SXSW: Big Ups has better control over tension and the oh-so-important release of that pent-up energy than almost anyone in the punk rock/post hardcore game. Talk/sing build up over interesting post punk instrumentation, more build up, and then BOOM…seething, gnarly punk rock that may be “post” whatever, but sounds pretty damn great right now. – Tom
Why you should see them at SXSW: St. Louis isn’t exactly the city that comes to mind if you’re imagining a revival of fast 60s-era pop, but Bruiser Queen‘s sound will have you trying to decide whether you’re at a rock show or a sock hop. – Sarah
Why you should see them at SXSW: Bilbao-based Capsula has wowed the crowds at the last two Stopovers with their breathtakingly energetic and sexy rock n roll. Named for that capsule, the band has been paying homage to Bowie for years, and in Austin they’ll be reprising their full album performance of The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars, which they played in a church in Savannah. – bill
Why you should see them at SXSW: Lucy Dacus was the biggest sleeper hit of Stopover 2016 for me. Dacus’s first album, No Burden, is brimming with clever, funny, and surprisingly candid songwriting covering a vast array of musical styles from blues to classic rock and roll. – Petee
Why you should see them at SXSW: Another sleeper hit of Stopover 2016, Haybaby’s style can be deceptively tame and crooning at times, but the Brooklyn trio is equally at home churning out heavy guitar riffs over wailing vocals. Certainly not one to miss. – Petee
Why you should see them at SXSW: Great new EP with catchy, garage-punk-rock songs? Check. Tight, fun, high energy live show, with just enough distortion and with vocals that never get lost? Check. A lead singer chosen one of the seven most fashionable New Yorkers by Time Out New York? Check. – bill
Why you should see them at SXSW: Porches’ dark take on pop carries with it an infectious groove that’s hard to resist. It’s the kind of ambient, electro-pop that you could find at an intimate club or playing through someone’s home stereo late on a rainy evening. – Petee
Why you should see them at SXSW: If Ben and Liv from PWR BTTM‘s campy banter at Stopover was any indication, they could probably make it on the comedy circuit. But I don’t like comedy; I do like stellar musicians — the duo switch off on guitar, drums, and lead vocals — who know how to take over a room with raucous rock and hit emotional chords at the same time. – bill
Why you should see them at SXSW: Hooky as hell, locked in, killer riff worship somewhere near the sweet spot between garage rock and power pop, Louisville’s White Reaper flat out rock. Catch them one of the 10(!!!) times they are scheduled to play in Austin, pity them for having to try to park that many times. – Tom