Well, another year is behind us. Judging from my Facebook friends and their comments, 2016 was not everyone’s favorite year. I guess a lot of bad things happened to us (Trump), but I think life kinda is full of balances. Maybe the downs were a little lower this year, but that will (hopefully) balance out with higher ups next year.
Enough of the sappy stuff, time for the music. I think that Savannah has several factors that make it such a good music city. One of these factors is, of course, our liberal to-go cup policy. It is nice to not have to chug a near-full beer because you walked in on the last song before a break. Another of the things that make us music-friendly is the small entertainment district downtown. Congress Street Social Club, Boomy’s, Molly MacPherson’s, Jinx, Barrelhouse, and El-Rocko are all within a few short blocks of each other. From there, it is a short walk to the Bay Street/River Street area, where there are multiple venues, including Bay Street Blues, Warehouse, Bayou Cafe, and Abe’s On Lincoln. Walk a few blocks south to Broughton and you have a couple of larger venues, Lucas Theatre and Trustees Theater. All of these venues are close enough to easily walk between each other in 10 minutes. Another reason for our vibrant music scene is the plethora of musical talent we have downtown. As many of you know who subscribe to this blog, we have a wide range of musical styles available to be seen on almost any weekend. There is blues, Americana, garage rock, heavy metal, punk, and many more. Check out the Connect, hissing lawns (unabashed plug), The Do, or Ryan’s Musical Picks for a listing of shows for the week.
Now for my year-end stats.
My total shows seen this year was 573.
This is actually down a little for two years in a row. I guess I am getting old and slowing down.
VENUES (each act counts, headliner and opening act counts as 2):
Barrelhouse South (84)
El Rocko (47)
Molly MacPherson’s (43)
Congress Street Social Club (39)
Bayou Cafe (20)
Jinx is a four-year winner here, no surprise to be on top again. I think they get some of the best touring acts at this location and it is definitely a goal for many local bands to play at this venue. Barrelhouse South has been creeping up the list since they opened in 2013. Some of their acts are not to my tastes (a little less white-boy reggae would help), but I do think they have one of the best sound systems and definitely the best lighting system in town. It is nice to see El=Rocko, a kind-of newcomer (Wes Daniel ran Hang Fire), this high on the list. They have worked out most of the early problems with sound at this venue and I now enjoy seeing bands there. And I always enjoy Wes’ unique musical choices. Molly MacPherson’s is always one of my favorite venues, one of the places you can always find someone to share a drink (or two) with. Congress Street Social Club is becoming more inviting as a venue, with the addition of drapes, but they still have a lot of DJ’s, that is why they are not higher up the list. Rounding out the list is probably my favorite dive bar in town, the Bayou Cafe. If you have a night that includes a stop at the Bayou, it was probably a good night.
City Hotel (6)
City Hotel have made the list every year, and I was happy to see them on there again. I don’t think you will see a better bluegrass band in town.
Cray Bags (6)
Cray Bags I was glad to see them back on the list. If you like old punk, you will like them.
Jeff 2-Names & The Born Agains (6)
Jeff 2-Names & The Born Agains are new to this list. Good old punk rock, Ramones style lyrics. Plus, now Eric Culberson may not be the oldest guy (besides me) on the list.
Train Wrecks (7)
Train Wrecks, another yearly-lister. You are guaranteed of a rocking show with these guys.
Ben Keiser Band (7)
Ben Keiser Band has a regular gig at Bay Street Blues on Tuesday. Check his show out, you will not be disappointed.
Matt Eckstine (8)
Matt Eckstine was a newcomer to this list, at least as a solo musician. He is, of course, the lead singer of the Accomplices. You will always leave his shows with a smile on your face.
Eric Culberson Band (9)
Eric Culberson is one of the acts that show up on this list every year. You will probably not find a better blues player in this area.
Anders Thomsen Band (10)
The excellent Anders Thomsen Band was helped in the rankings by their weekly Happy Hour appearance at El-Rocko. It was nice to see early music on Wednesday, and I liked the format of a different guest-star each week. I would love to see that gig start back up.
The Accomplices are one of my all-time favorite bands around town. I always enjoyed their harmonies and uplifiting music.
I’ve got a new champion this year, The Hypnotics. Last year’s two-time winner, The Accomplices, were so heartbroken, they moved to Colorado. One of the things that I notice about the Hypnotics make more people dance than any other band I see.