Bigger, longer and uncut. That's the 2014 Savannah Stopover Music Festival, which is of course three days jam-packed with cross-country indie bands, most of them hitting Savannah on their way to the ol' South By Southwest conference in Austin.
That's where the word Stopover comes from. It's kinda like a big rock 'n' roll sleepover at your bud's house in Savannah.
This year, there are something like 100 shows, at various venues. Some of the current "it" artists will be here, including Speedy Ortiz, Those Darlins, The Weeks, Caitlin Rose, Woolfolk, New Madrid and Milagres.
This week, we begin our Stopover advance play with a couple of spotlights (how 'bout that Peelander-Z?), and in next week's issue, count on it, our Stopover cup will spilleth over.
There's a full schedule, ticket info and all sorts of other cool stuff at savannahstopover.com.
Hurray For the Riff Raff
At 6 p.m. Saturday, March 8, Moon River Beer Garden
Of Puerto Rican descent, Alynda Lee Segarra grew up in the Bronx and ultimately found her way to New Orleans. On the journey, she discovered and fell in love with all stripes of American music—and her deeply personal take on populist and poetic folk songs. She is, technically, the sole member of the band, although she performs and tours with an Appalachian trio. Her music is rich and lyrical, and blows across like a vintage Americana dust storm. Fans of Gillian Welch, take note. Latest album: Small Town Heroes.
J. Roddy Walston & the Business
At midnight Thursday, March 7 (Friday morning), Congress Street Social Club
J. Roddy Walston comes from a Tennessee Pentecostal fire-and-brimstone background, which may be why he pounds his piano and screams into a wall of guitar metal like Jerry Lee Lewis fronting Led Zeppelin: You got to get those demons out somehow. "The only band I've ever seen blow The Hold Steady off stage," says online columnist Jeb Gavin, and indeed, the Baltimore-based band's live show has become the stuff of pulse-pounding legend. "There's no way you're going to look like a fool in here," Walston says. "We're all just laying it out going nuts. I'm literally dripping sweat. There's puddles around me." Latest album: Essential Tremors.
At midnight Thursday, March 7 (Friday morning), Hang Fire
If the Beach Boys had been a dreampop band, they might have sounded a lot like this Brooklyn outfit, which combines sublime songcraft with airy harmonies and shimmering musical punctuation both acoustic and electrified. "Sex on the Regular," one of frontman Charlie Brand's catchiest songs (although there are no throwaways here), sounds like a great lost Bee Gees outtake. "Swimming Pool Blues" could be Whaleboat and Weezer jamming in your garage. Miniature Tigers is a fun band; this show is likely to be the most fun you can have with your pants on. Latest album: Cruel Runnings.