Another Savannah Stopover is in the books, and many of us are still in some sort of recovery from the thrilling three days. (There was also a pre-Stopover lineup at Graveface Records on March 7th, but more on that soon.)
With each year, Stopover seems to play a more vital role in Savannah’s cultural identity. The local and out-of-town reviews and reactions will continue for days, and we’ll be sharing a lot more here at hissing lawns and on the hissing lawns Facebook page.
Check out what pronoun had to say this year after their second Stopover:
For so long I have heard people say music takes you to the most amazing places. I never understood until I got to Savannah. Thank you @SavStopover, @DoSavannah, and @ConnectSavannah for all the support for me and @sleepwellrecord artists ❤❤❤
— pronoun (@musicpronoun) March 11, 2018
And this from G. Taylor McKnight, found of the app Sched:
This fest has replaced SXSW Music for me. I’m a 2nd time attendee. The city, the audiences, the band quality, breathing room, less time waiting in lines, more time living.
Thanks to SS staff for producing such a wonderful event. https://t.co/XIIe1mmB6g
— G. Taylor McKnight (@gtmcknight) March 11, 2018
I live in Savannah and have seen a couple hundred Stopover shows since the festival was founded in 2011 — click here for the full program history — so I’m used to hearing such praise for the city, the festival, the venues, the legal outdoor drinking, the weather, and all sorts of other aspects of Stopover.
But I find it harder every year to summarize Stopover. I saw anywhere from a few minutes to full sets of 32 bands this year, but another attendee could have seen an entirely different 32 bands and had an equally amazing experience. Music writers sometimes cover festivals as if they saw everything that was worth seeing, but there just isn’t any way that one reviewer — or a whole team of reviewers — can take it all in. Consider that I missed most of the New West Records showcase and all of the Sleep Well Records showcase, I missed several of the top-billed festival acts, and I missed the excellent series of secret shows. Hell, I didn’t even make it to Becca Mancari’s performance at lunchtime at The Grey.
No regrets here though. I had an amazing festival, and in this post I’m including photos of almost all the bands that I saw, as well as a variety of random reflections. Please hop over to our Facebook page and share your favorites.
And come back here over the next few days for more Stopover wrap-up posts by our hissing lawns team.
1. Favorite sets (in no particular order):
Gus Dapperton – I was a little afraid that the hipster vibe would translate into an overly subdued and self-referential performance, but this show exceeded my very high expectations. What a great connection with the crowd and a genuine desire to talk to fans after the show. I can’t wait to see where Dapperton’s career goes from here.
Honduras – I loved Honduras’ garage-y rock at the 2017 Stopover and the band killed it again this year in a set at Barrelhouse South. Honduras has 10 gigs at SXSW this week and is touring with the excellent Public Access T.V., who also played a great Barrelhouse set. I hope that both bands get the attention that they deserve.
The War and Treaty – Big voices, big love on stage at Trinity. If you ever get a chance to see this couple live, do it.
Lola Marsh – Again, a show that exceeded my very high expectations — lush, beautiful, and inspiring music from the Tel Aviv-based duo of Yael Shoshana Coehn and Gil Landau, plus their band.
Shopping – The post-punk trio from London and Glasgow delivered big as the final act on the opening night of Stopover. Be sure and check out their new album The Official Body.
Pylon Reenactment Society – Lead singer Vanessa Briscoe Hay is the only original member from the legendary Athens act Pylon, but the band channels the energy of decades ago and at the same time feels vital right here, right now. At the end of their set to close out the festival at The Jinx, the guys from Acid Dad, audience members, and David Barbe joined the dance party on stage.
2. Biggest surprise: Jon Stickley Trio
– I hadn’t done any homework on the Jon Stickley Trio from N.C., which made this thrilling instrumental performance even better. The band had never played Savannah before, and by the end of their early evening set, The Jinx was packed and the audience was enthralled.
3. Great venues – Stopover’s venue lineup varies somewhat from year to year, but the 2018 festival might have had the best selection yet. Ships of the Sea and Trinity United Methodist Church are special places with great history that handle the biggest acts of the festival. Congress Street Social Club had its best staging yet inside, in addition to having the gracious outdoor patio for early sets. Barrelhouse South was a perfect new addition, despite a bit too much smoke and backlighting for this photographer. The returning venues of Club One, The Jinx, and El-Rocko are awesome — and within a few blocks of each other, and a variety of other spots filled out the lineup for secret shows and special events.
4. Welcome back, of Montreal – The theatrical of Montreal from Athens played for a throng in Forsyth Park at the 2013 Savannah Stopover and headlined this year’s festival with an exhilarating show at Ships of the Sea.
5. The artists’ lounge that I never visit – I buy a VIP pass each year rather than apply for a press pass, but either way, I would have access to the artists’ lounge, which was conveniently located on Broughton this year. And I didn’t visit it at all, despite the temptation of free drinks and latenight parties. I end up too busy each year seeing bands or too exhausted after a long night to spend serious time in the lounge, but the place helps build a transitory community each year.
6. Welcome back John Zimmerman – John Z. was the drummer for Wet Socks, a favorite band of ours here at hissing lawns, and he returned for Stopover this year as drummer for The Muckers, an up-and-coming Brooklyn band with roots in Iran.
7. Diverse genres – I don’t know if there was actually more diversity of genres at this year’s Stopover, but it sure felt like it. In addition to all the other genres and bands I’ve already mentioned, Stopover included the quiet country of rising star Colter Wall, the driving rock of Bat Fangs, and many other genres in between.
8. Welcome back, The Nude Party – The Nude Party played an awesome show at The Jinx over two years ago. Since then, the 6-piece Boone, North Carolina band has moved to New York and gotten even better. They’re touring heavily across the U.S. through the end of April, so check them out if they’re nearby.
9. Savannah – I’ve lived in Savannah for almost 23 years, and it’s easy to get jaded about the city’s many “charms” — I even kind of hate that word, “charms.” But during Stopover I feel so at home in the heart of downtown again — a part of the city that feels overwhelmed with tourists on most days. The comfortable venues, the familiar faces behind the bars and in the audiences, the strong contingent of local musicians (Stopover books about a dozen each year), the ease of biking into downtown during the bustle of the day and riding home in post-midnight solitude — all of these and more factors make the city feel like the one I fell in love with back in the 1990s.
Here are some pictures. I’ll post even more in a big Facebook gallery later in the week.
Payne Bridges at Ships of the Sea:
Ruby Velle and the Soulphonics at Ships of the Sea:
Larkin Poe at Ships of the Sea:
Lakin Crawford at Congress Street Social Club:
Isaac Smith at The Jinx:
Vita and the Woolf at Club One:
Stoop Kids at Congress Street Social Club:
Zuli at Barrelhouse South:
Shopping at El-Rocko Lounge:
Isaac Enen at Congress Street Social:
Jon Stickley Trio at The Jinx:
Cicada Rhythm at Ships of the Sea:
Lola Marsh at Trinity:
The Muckers at Barrelhouse South:
Honduras at Barrelhouse South:
Illegal Drugs at El-Rocko:
Low Cut Connie at Congress Street Social:
Sarah Shook & The Disarmers at The Jinx:
White Violet at El-Rocko:
David Barbe & Inward Dream Ebb at El-Rocko:
Liz Cooper & The Stampede at The Jinx:
The Nude Party at El-Rocko:
Sam Lewis at Trinity:
Colter Wall at Trinity:
Gus Dapperton at Ships of the Sea:
of Montreal at Ships of the Sea:
Ratboys at Barrelhouse:
The War and Treaty at Trinity:
Bat Fangs at The Jinx:
Pylon Reenactment Society at The Jinx: