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Turning up the heat on Tybee
Savannah Heat Motorcycle and Music Fest features local talent
The Train Wrecks

SYNERGY. It’s a word that gets bandied about quite often these days — usually in the context of high-priced consultants looking to dazzle clients with visions of said companies’ products being linked to lifestyle choices of a desirable demographic.

When I was a kid, all I knew of Synergy was the immensely creepy psychedelic 1975 LP of electronic mood music by the same name. Man, I couldn’t get enough of that record. Still can’t.

John Baer and his wife Jane Krause are interested in the concept of synergy as well, but the kind they’re dealing with is much closer to the first variant I mentioned. Their locally-based advertising and production company goes by that handle, and late-night television viewers may know the firm for its current flagship program, Savannah Heat. That low-budget series airs immediately after Saturday Night Live on WSAV, and has led its time slot in ratings.

Savannah Heat focuses solely on interesting and unique destinations and attractions in our immediate area that can be easily reached by motorcycle, which at first seems a peculiar conceit, until one realizes the show is sponsored by the local Harley Davidson dealership (synergy indeed).

Baer, a musician and motorcyclist himself, finds both pursuits intrinsically linked.

“I have an affinity for the passion, freedom and edginess associated with them,” says Baer. “To me, there’s a kind of renegade, non-traditionalist motif they share. We try to spotlight that on our show.”

“I initially billed it as an ‘anti-mossy tree and history’ look at Savannah. There’s a lot of modern day stuff going on around here that is way more important than ‘Circa 1733,’ in my opinion.”

From the show’s inception, Baer and Krause featured segments on standout local artists interspersed with business profiles of popular eateries, attractions and the like. That devotion to hyping local music has led them to partner with Café Loco on the first-ever Savannah Heat Motorcycle and Music Fest this Saturday.

The 12-hour event features hour-plus live sets from a fairly wide range of local artists, all of whom have previously been featured on the TV show. Those acts include: songwriter Greg Williams, southern jam-band Phantom Wingo, hip-hoppers The Co-Workers (from the Dope Sandwich collective), roots-rockers Keith & Ross and The Train Wrecks, commercial pop-rock trio Listen 2 Three, and the ska and punk-influenced quartet Argyle.

“We’re providing a backline of gear to help save time on the changeovers between acts,” Krause says. “The music will be outside until 11 pm, when the noise ordinance kicks in. Then we’ll move indoors.”

She stresses that in the event of inclement weather, the whole event can be held inside, but “If it’s just threatening to spit rain, we’ll stay outside. We know how Tybee is. Things can blow right over.”

The bands themselves are playing strictly for exposure (Synergy plans to create a TV special from footage of the shows) and hospitality. “They’re being fed and taken care of,” says Krause. Coastal Pet Rescue will be on hand to fund-raise, and will share in a portion of any profits generated.

Although there is plenty of competition at this time of year from other family-oriented, music-related events (such as the Roundhouse Blues & BBQ Fest which takes place the same evening), Baer’s not too worried about drawing a crowd.

“I won’t be surprised if we have 500 people throughout the day,” he says. “The bands have their own fans, and the motorcycle community is spreading the word. The excitement level is pretty high.”

Adds Krause, “Ticket holders can come and go all day as they please.”

The Savannah Heat Motorcycle & Music Fest runs Saturday from 2 pm to 2 am at Tybee’s Café Loco. Admission is $5, which includes a raffle ticket.