Savannah Stopover Day 1

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Savannah Stopover captures our hearts when we come down from Atlanta for this small’ish three-day festival. This was Stopover’s sixth-year taking over the bars and nightlife of this antebellum clad city; with its proximity to major highways that bring the North to the South, allowing bands to cut across to the West, it puts them in Austin with ease, taking them to the mecca of musical showcases for SXSW. Stopover isn’t unlike SXSW, it’s just on a smaller scale, spreading itself out over the cobblestone streets to the various bars, a museum, and even a church to host the rather intimate shows people are allowed to witness over the course of a weekend. This festival is perfect, well, at least, it is for music junkies like ourselves; Its a “doable” festival for anyone. Unlike SXSW, there isn’t those big “Headliners” that are going to draw people by the thousands, Stopover is set up to be like a smaller showcase. Their setup is for people who know their music or want to discover some new quality shit that these bands are delivering on just a slightly smaller scale.

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Sun Club, is a Baltimore indie-pop rock band recently released their first full-length album Dongo Durango back in October of 2015 via ATO Records. Their live show brings this intense bass line from the drums while they combine synth and guitars to lift the builds to a higher caliber. If you are a fan of Animal Collective, this is the band for you! Their pop hooks with the addition of synth to their songs remind us of the veteran experimental indie pop band Animal Collective, who also happen to be from Baltimore themselves. Sun Club brings a more rock vibe from its guitar and drum with songs like “Tropicoller Lease” and “Summer Feet” which we caught during their set.

* This set was a hell of a start to our Stopover experience

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Ra Ra Riot’s set brought in the dance portion of the evening with their synthy power pop ballads. The Syracuse New York band recently released their fourth full-length album Need Your Light on February 19, via Barsuk Records. Their sound is quite glittery (literally) with a rich string section and playful synth, they had people jumping and dancing to their opening song “Everytime Im Ready To Hug.”

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Quiet Hollers are an alt-country rock band from Louisville, Kentucky that embeds punk rock roots creating a unique indie rock sound; they opened their set with their popular single “Aviator Shades.” The Kentucky-based band independently released their self-titled debut album back in October and had one of their singles “Monte Blanc” picked up on a Starbucks playlist this year. The guys dove right into “Liar Song” notably about confessing a lie, and how appropriate they perform it within the church walls; lead singer Shadwick Wilde’s lyrics reflected through with great conviction as if he’s confessing his sins to the entire crowd.

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Day one of the Stopover was jam packed with so many worthy bands to go and check out; Chrome Pony has been a heavily talked about band from Nashville and was one of our favorites of the weekend. They blend so many genres together, sometimes when you think you have nailed down what these guys are all about they switch it up on you; it’s garage rock with hints of punk, a bit of 90’s style grunge, and at times 60’s style psych. It’s great to see a band like this perform because they bring it! It’s loud, and it grabs your attention. Their sound is never too much; they have nailed how to mix everything together precisely that produces a significant amount of dimension to their songs like “Road Dope”, and “Ciggy Stardust”. The Nashville natives just wrapped up a European tour with Cage The Elephant and recently released an EP Past Lives on February,19th. Don’t fret Atlanta; these guys are gracing the stage for us here In April for the Sweetwater 420 Fest.

* Chrome Pony was one of the biggest surprises with one of our favorite sets of the weekend

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All Dogs are an Ohio four-piece band that’s led by Maryn Jones of Saintseneca. All dogs released their first full-length Kicking Every day in August of 2015 via Salinas Records; She brings you this 90’s-style grunge with post-punk styled music, and lyrics to match. It seems the Maryn experienced what every 90’s grungy alt chick went through during high school, completely misunderstood by almost everyone, and not caring if anyone completely understood you anyway!

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Athens, Georgia’s Mothers, bring you a set that you will never get tired of hearing; her songs bring you such pleasure while listening regardless of the melancholy meanings her songs are about. There is a reason these guys have a tremendous amount of press surrounding them; their album When You Walk a Long Distance You Are Tired (Grand Jury Records February, 2015) is masterfully perfect and delivers moody lullaby type lyrics against heavy guitar riffs to capture your attention, their live set is no different and provides a more intense attention-grabbing performance with their meticulously perfect guitar riffs against Kristen’s sweet voice. Their set contains something deep and emotional; their Stopover set was much the same despite being crammed in the corner on the stage of a Wild Wings; the point was still made on why there is such a hype surrounding this band.

* Mothers was one of the highlights of Savannah Stopover, a must catch set

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Brooklyn-based Shilpa Ray, graced the stage with the beautiful harmonium while her band surrounds here with the rich sounds of rock and roll. Shilpa released her first album Last Years Savage ( May 2015 Northern Spy Records) with a new band and calling themselves simply Shilpa Ray. She sucks you in with the constant hum of the pump organ and gets you listening to her elaborate songs that weave blues, rock, punk, and garage rock.

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Louisville, Kentucky punk/garage rock band White Reaper released their second studio album White Reaper Does It Again in July of 2015 via Polyvinyl Records. It lends itself to be this slightly hardcore rock and punk album about the dysfunctions of your dating life through your 20’s; but it works! The guys stick to classic rock and roll bones, their tempo is fast, and the bass and drums create this incredible powerhouse rhythm that’s loud and ferocious. Tony Esposito’s vocal and guitar have this careless fuzzy quality that isn’t meant to be entirely in focus. This type of sound completely works, giving it that more retro sound of rock and roll meets punk rock! Their live set that evening was a favorite of attendees from the weekend. They killed their set and brought the noise that night with an intense punk rock session of loud and heavy guitar riffs with an intense drum and a thick bass to drive the pace of the rhythm while the synth rounds out the hooks to Esposito’s vocal.

* White Reaper had one of the best sets of the whole weekend

There was a poster contest, and the SUSTO poster was our favorite!

There was a poster contest, and the SUSTO poster was our favorite!

With day 1 of Savannah Stopover at its conclusion, there were a good amount of standouts.  People were left hopeful that the rest of their weekend in Savannah would be filled with the same amount of incredible music and intensity to match.

All photos by Mike Gerry

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Writer for OpenEars Music. Nothin' beats a live show!

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