13 standout Savannah shows in 2013

Check out hissing lawns’ year-end posts by Petee Worrell, Anna Chandler, Kayne Lanahan of MusicFile Productions, Tom Cartmel, and Larry Jack, who saw a mere 626 live performances at Savannah venues in 2013 . . .

Here I’m focusing on 13 standout gigs/shows/sets that I saw in Savannah in 2013, with an emphasis on shows where I shot some photos. As with all such lists, this one is personal and idiosyncratic. I saw so much more good music this year than I can possibly detail here, and I’m sure I missed as many great shows as I saw.

13. Doug Mains & the City Folk

Doug Mains & the City Folk played their second gig at The Sentient Bean back in January — apparently the final Savannah visit from the immensely talented group from Michigan. They recently announced that they are disbanding. But good news: there’s another album already in the can that will be released in 2014, and musicians as talented as Doug and his bandmates don’t just disappear when one project ends. I still play the 2012 album The Mountain’s King regularly and keep finding more beauty in the subtleties of the instrumentation and the evocativeness of Doug’s vocals.

Doug Mains & the City Folk at The Sentient Bean

Doug Mains & the City Folk at The Sentient Bean

12. Mac DeMarco

So would the then-22 year old Mac DeMarco live up to the hype that he generated in the months before appearing in a 1 a.m. set at The Jinx on opening night of the 2013 Savannah Stopover? In a word, yes. I was probably the oldest person in the room, which happens pretty often these days, but found it impossible not to be swept along by the energy of the crowd and the live versions of songs like “Ode to Viceroy” and “Cooking Up Something Good”. I’m assuming that we’ll be getting a new record from DeMarco in 2014; I’ll be snapping it up.

Mac DeMarco at Savannah Stopover

Mac DeMarco at Savannah Stopover

Downtown Double-Header at The Jinx and Hang Fire

Last Saturday was probably one of the busiest nights music-wise I’ve had in a long time. Downtown was hit with six top quality acts at two of the best venues in town and luckily I managed to catch a bit of each band’s set.

Up at Hang Fire, the night was opened by local act Sunglow, a one man electronic project that generated tracks that ranged from distinctly mellow and ambient to more trip-hop inclined beats occasionally supported by minimalistic vocals. Next at Hang Fire came Athens, Georgia natives Powerkompany. Powerkompany delivered a certain kind of pop driven folk music that was engrossing and carried a rhythm that begged to be danced to. Closing out the night at Hang Fire was Savannah’s own Lovely Locks serving up their harmony intensive rock and roll that left the packed house cheering for encore after encore.

Down a little way at The Jinx, the night was opened by Rotten Blush who kicked things off with a fast and furious rock assault. Following Rotten Blush came Savannah locals Tonto, a trio of true rock and rollers who belted out some serious doses of classic, Americana rock. Closing out the night at The Jinx was Niche, another well-known purveyor of rock and roll who create a distinct sound by infusing their brand of slightly heavy rock with a certain Southern flair that gives several local bands that unique sound that comes out from Savannah.

All in all, whichever choice you happened to make last Saturday was a good one in my view as all of the bands were really on top of their game. Be sure to check out a few of the shots from the night below and hit the jump for the full sets, starting with The Jinx and finishing up with the acts at Hang Fire.

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Larry Jack’s Year End Review

Hi guys,
Well, I see everyone is writing a year-end column, so I guess I will give it a shot. There have been a lot of really good shows that I have been to this year, but I am really not a good enough writer to be able to say much more than “what a great show” about each one of them. If you want to read something about the local shows from real writers, be sure to check out some of the other blogs on this site, especially Anna Chandler, Petee Worrell and Tom Cartmel’s columns.

Surprisingly, as I look over my list, there aren’t a lot that jump out at me as the best of the year. Part of that is because I am old and tend to forget, but I think it is because I really enjoy almost all of the music that I see being played in Savannah. I definitely come home some times and say “now THAT was a night of good music tonight”, but rarely do I come home disappointed with the quality of music that I hear. That is probably why you see me smiling so much at all the shows, why shouldn’t I be happy? I do envy these musicians that are able to express themselves in a way that gives other people joy. What a gift. I try to understand how they are able to communicate with their fellow players, even if they have never played with them before, usually with something as simple as a head nod. I hope that these musicians realize how lucky they are to be able to perform in front of people, sometimes even making a living at it!

Rather than trying to write about individual shows, I thought I would post the year end statistics on shows I have seen. For the wonkish among you, I counted an act as seen if I saw them for at least one song. Open mics counted as one band. For the venues, I counted the number of acts seen at that location, so three bands at The Jinx in one night counts as 3 points. Although most of these stats were what I expected, I did find some surprises.


Tom Cartmel’s Year in Review

I’ve been a pretty hopeless music fanatic for over 30 years: my first live show was the Beach Boys when I was twelve, went through the typical classic rock high school, dove into the Pittsburgh punk scene in college, had an unfortunate jam band phase (don’t worry, I got better) when I moved to South Carolina, and then settled into listening to as much new music as I could (which is a lot). For years I traveled the Southeast to see shows that were interesting to me. Unfortunately, that driving only occasionally landed me in Savannah, even though I live right outside of it. Sure, I made it to the occasional Johnny Mercer Theatre show, a couple Fugazi shows, Frank Black at Savannah Smiles(!?) and some stuff at the Roundhouse, but didn’t really feel a connection to the Savannah scene. Then, one day, a few years ago, I went to my first metal show at The Jinx, a Black Tusk show specifically. I was HOOKED, instantly. Since then, I have attended pretty much any show that I could, as long as it, at least loosely, fell under my definition of “rock”. Generally, but not always, there is a guitar involved. At some point, I started taking pictures and really enjoyed it. The only downside to it is that I realized I should have been taking pictures for about the last 25 years. Oh well.

So here’s my rambling top ten semi local music events and releases of the year, in no real order.

MusicFile Productions: The 25 Best Songs Of 2013


Phosphorescent Tops My Best 25 of 2013

I’ve always been fascinated by year-end ‘best of’ music lists. The big guns (Rolling Stone, Spin, NPR etc) have more ground to cover than I can wrap my head around (from Miley Cyprus to Speedy Ortiz?) and the indie blogs need to stay true to their particular vibe. Perhaps that’s how “Song for Zulu” by Phosphorescent can end up as #50 on Stereogum’s Top 50 and #1 on Paste’s. It’s #1 for me as well so perhaps I am more of a Paste gal than a Stereogum hipster? Well yes, for those of you that know me, that would seem obvious.

The bottom line is lists are deeply personal. They’re about the music that’s touched you over the past year for one reason or another and putting it to a committee vote kind of loses the point. The lists I  gravitate to are the ones that help me discover music I might have missed or overlooked.

We are exposed to a tremendous (almost daunting) amount of music at MusicFile Productions over the course of a year and we spend a lot of time scouring the planet for up and comers. But at the end of the day, I admit to being heavily influenced by a combination of a) a good melody b) strong lyrics c) a bit of edge and creativity and d) some classically trained chops used in non-classical ways. If it makes me choke up, pump my fist in the air, dance my butt off, stomp my feet or give me pause, well that’s what I’m talking about.

I’ve left off all the Kanye West’s,the Arcade Fire’s, The National’s and the Vampire Weekend’s, not because they aren’t good records but because guessing you don’t need to see them on another list? I’ve also left off most of the bands we have playing Savannah Stopover Music Festival in March. Including them might seem self-serving plus a lot of them have VERY good records coming out in 2014. The exception I made was Caitlin Rose. Her 2013 Album The Stand In has restored my faith in country!

The list below is comprised of individual tracks taken from what I consider to be some of the best Albums or EP’s of the year. It contains rock, folk, pop, classical, dance, country, electronic, R&B, chamber pop and a lot of songs that defy categorization. To my knowledge, it contains no songs currently being played on over the air radio. And there are a few trends we definitely noticed this year: Strong country women with a classic bent (Caitlin Rose, Kacey Musgraves, Holly Williams), Smooth R&B with an 80’s nod (Rhye, Denitia and Sene), the continued resurgence of garage-y surf pop (too many to list!) and complex, orchestral folk/pop efforts with neo-classical elements (San Fermin, Mutual Benefit, Amason).

Larry Jack’s Magical Music Tour – 12/26/13-12/31/13

Hey guys,

I hope everyone is having/had a good Christmas holiday.  Last weekend ended up being a little better than I expected, I really enjoyed Bottles & Cans with guests Jeremy Hammons and Anders Thomsen at Rocks On The Roof (one of the two most attentive crowds I have seen there).  Eric Culberson and Ace Andersson also put on a very good show at The Warehouse.  The Hypnotics put on their usual good performance at Molly MacPherson’s on Saturday.  There are a few more shows to look forward to on the calendar this weekend, then we get to survive New Year’s Eve on Tuesday (not my favorite holiday, I must admit).  Here’s a list of my picks this week, should be a good one.

Thursday 12/26 An Accomplices-ish kinda night.

Stan RayWarehouse (8pm) – The drummer for the Accomplices playing a rare solo show.  Be sure to tell him what a fine job he did emceeing the Holiday Hoedown.  Unless you think he did a sorry job, you don’t need to tell him that.  Unless you just want to.

Pluff MuddMolly MacPherson’s (10p) – Matt and Eric of the Accomplices.

Friday 12/27

Cranford HollowWild Wing Café – Formerly known as Cranford & Son.  This is a good rock band, but not one of my favorite locations to see music.

Epic CycleMolly MacPherson’s – One of my favorite bands around town.  Make sure you catch Ben Keiser & Company soon.

General Patton & The Heads Of StateCongress Street Social Club – John (Domino Effect) Patton’s dance-rock band.

Saturday 12/28

Bottles & Cans Jazz’d – One of the few bands that I go to Jazz’d for.  Very nice staff, just a little too classy of a place for me.  But this is excellent blues music.

Lovely Locks, PowerkompanyHang Fire – Good timing, I was going into Lovely Locks Withdrawal.

Niche, Tonto, Rotten BlushJinx – Niche and Tonto in one show!  It may be too much.

Smith Brothers Molly MacPherson’s – James Lee Smith, Isaac Smith, Ethan Stewart and Robert Britton Saunders.  I have been trying to catch this band for a while now.

Sunday 12/29

Mandatory Jam [Eric Britt, Eric Dunn, Eric Culberson, Ricardo Ochoa, The Accomplices] (6pm)Tybee Social Club   I am not sure what to expect here, but it sounds like fun.  And it may be the most Erics I have ever seen at one time.  It looks like I may have to head to Tybee for a little while.  I plan to double check the time later.

Tuesday 12/31 – New Year’s Eve, you are [hopefully] off tomorrow.  I expect more shows may be announced later.

HypnoticsMolly MacPherson’s – I think it would be great to ring in the New Year with this garage-rock trio.

Les Racquet, AccomplicesTybee Island Social Club – I am betting this will be a great show, if you happen to be on Tybee for New Year’s Eve.

A few more shows:

2Tone Fish is playing at Warehouse.  Those Cats are the first band playing at Rousakis Plaza.

Andrew Gill Band is playing at City Market until 11pm.

Eric Culberson is playing at Billy’s Place above McDonough’s backed by a baby grand piano, sax, bass and drums.  I’ve never been there before, but I bet that would be fun.

Merry Christmas from David Bowie and Bing Crosby

Anna C.’s Year in Review

Y’all, I am SO. EXCITED. There’s something really wonderful about sifting through your photos and calendars to recall all the shows you went to in 2013 (and I know I am forgetting a ton) and being overwhelmed by the level and talent that came through and cultivated in Savannah this year. I am thrilled looking at what January 2014 already holds (Lucero? Priests? YES, please!). Despite being engrossed in Savannah’s music scene for several years now, this is the first year I look back–and forward–and really feel like I’m beginning to live in a music town.

I remember the first Savannah Stopover in 2011–my friends and I dashing down Congress, frantically checking our watches against the schedule, and in the midst of it all we paused and realized, “This never happens.” There was never such a selection on a weekend that we had to make sacrifices (“Okay, we’ll be a little late to Murder By Death…” “How fast do you think I can run up the stone steps from Live Wire to The Jinx with a go-cup in my hand?” [answer: with a cheetah’s speed and a gazelle’s grace, thanks])—but now, in 2013, that’s the norm–and not just on a festival night, but on any given weekend. These days, I’ve perfected my Cobblestone Canter and can even expertly run between shows in heels with a Solo cup of moonshine in hand (thanks, Stopover sponsor/city-wide hangover inducer Midnight Moonshine [still got mixed feelings toward you]).

Petee Worrell’s Year in Review

I’ll be honest, when I first moved to Savannah a little over a year and a half ago, I was fairly hesitant about making the transition. The thought of having to leaving my local haunts and the relationships I’d developed back in Atlanta was pretty daunting, especially since I’d never actually been to Savannah before. However, now that I’ve gotten myself settled into the city, I feel as if I’ve been here for far longer than just a year and a half. I’ve developed a connection with this city that probably runs just as deep as the connection I made with Atlanta in less than half the time, which is definitely saying something coming from a relative introvert like myself. All that being said, I thought it’d be pretty appropriate to wrap up the year with a post detailing some of the biggest happenings that hit the city over the past year from the eyes of a relative newcomer to the scene.

mumbledust releases new EP just in time for a lonely, quiet Christmas

mumbledust went quietly into hibernation sometime this year; now the Savannah-based folk noir duo of Rachael Perisho and Ryan McCardle has just-as-quietly re-emerged.

mumbledust is scheduled for Graveface Fest 2 and has just released the 3-song Home Alone II. I don’t know if you’ll hear any carolers singing the tracks, but they sure feel more honest than the usual Christmas platitudes . . .

From mumbledust’s Bandcamp page (where you can also hear and download other releases):

track 1 written and recorded by mumbledust.
track 2 was originally written/arranged by steve van zandt; interpreted and recorded by mumbledust. track 3 is a traditional song attributed to king henry viii; interpreted and recorded by mumbledust featuring nadine carina.

mumbledust at the old Starland Dairy in Savannah

mumbledust at the old Starland Dairy in Savannah

impressive Moogfest 2014 lineup includes Kraftwerk, Giorgio Moroder, Laurie Anderson, CHIC

Moogfest has been through some changes over the years, but it sure looks like the festival has found firm footing for 2014. Scheduled for April 23-27, 2014, at venues across Asheville, N.C., Moogfest is named in honor of Bob Moog and is billed as a “synthesis of technology, art, and music.”

Among the headliners released a few days ago are Kraftwerk, Giorgio Moroder, CHIC (featuring Nile Rodgers), and Laurie Anderson. (Anderson will also be in the Southeast in 2014 for Spoleto in Charleston.)

Tickets are now on sale. In addition to the great lineup of nighttime performances and label showcases, dozens of daytime speakers have also been scheduled. Both Laurie Anderson and Giorgio Moroder will be speaking in addition to performing.

Dan Deacon is among the performers; here’s one shot I took of him in late 2012 during a show at Dollhouse Productions here in Savannah:

Here are the Moogfest performers who have been announced so far:

The Blind Boys of Alabama close out Stephen Colbert’s carols week

Earlier this fall, the Blind Boys of Alabama released the stunningly good album I’ll Find a Way produced by Justin Vernon.

The band has now closed out the year singing “Go Tell It on the Mountain” to close out Christmas Carols Week with Stephen Colbert:

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