Savannah Stopover Day 3 Review and Wrap-up

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The third and final day of Savannah Stopover brought out great sets, with a few favorites from the weekend, and some newly found surprises in between. As the weekend was coming to a close, our hopes for a Super Saturday closeout of the festival came true.

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Athens, Georgia based Grand Vapids released their debut album, Guarantee, back in the summer of 2015 via Mumblecore Records. Their debut gives an excellent foray into the encompassing sound the band delivers. Live, Grand Vapids kicks it up another notch. Their sound gives a moody vibe to their indie rock-styled music with a slight post-punk edge; while the drummer drives home the rhythm. Grand Vapids produce a somewhat ambient tone to the builds of each of their songs. The guitar riffs and addictive hooks drew the crowd in during their set beneath the trees of the Congress St. Social Club’s packed patio. Grand Vapids delivered one of the best sets at this year’s Stopover.

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Dear Tracks are a Grand Rapids jangle pop/indie rock group who recently released an EP Soft Dreams on February 26th via Furious Hooves/Track & Field. The band’s subdued, dreamy surf rock with catchy shoegaze lyrics and hooks, draws the crowd in. Their set on Sunday delivered an airy chill with a slight surge of drums and guitar that keeps an edge, yet still relaxed swoon-worthy dream pop.

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Your Friend leaves you dazzled with the feels after experiencing their live set. Taryn Miller’s voice softly provides something of comfort as the guitar and drums gently lead to an imaginative world. Her music is approachable, and complex at the same time with the amount of synth and foot pedal work that goes into each track creating these intricate twists and turns from the guitar. Your Friend released their debut album Gumption via Domino Records this past January. It’s not hard to fall in love with Taryn’s voice as it echoes and weaves itself around the sound of each instrument. She painted a picture for everyone on Sunday afternoon with her self-described “dark and brutie” songs, atop a stage in the corner of a wing joint. Regardless of location if you don’t give the music the time and attention, it deserves you might just miss something great.

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Hospital Ships are an indie rock band from Lawrence, Kansas and recently released their fourth full-length The Past is Not a Flood, via Graveface Records on March, 11th. The group paints songs with deeper meaning while great builds and perfectly timed transitions gives dimension and casts more profound emotion. Their set had the crowd pay close attention to the textures that Hospital Ships creates with each instrument and the addition of synth in the background against Jordan Geiger’s fragile sounding lyrics.

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Charleston, South Carolina local band SUSTO, are an alt-country or better known as “cosmic country” band within the tight-knit Charleston music scene. SUSTO released their self-titled debut album in 2014 via Hearts And Plugs. Justin Osborne brings an incredible intensity to his live set; he sings his lyrics with such ferocious passion that immediately connects with it with each chord and word sung. This band is charismatic and full of personality that you can’t help but soak it up like a piece of bread in gravy. Playing a new song called “Cosmic Cowboy,” Justin’s raspy voice proudly belts out what a real “Cosmic Cowboy” is all about. Stopover was the end of SUSTO’s seven-week tour, ending their journey on a high as the Ships Of The Sea outdoor stage was packed full of people clearly excited to see the band perform. SUSTO was a major highlight from the weekend and one of our favorite sets.

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Athens natives Futurebirds took the stage playing a blend of everything that could be attributed to good old American rock and roll. They layer genres of alt-rock, cosmic country and southern rock with fragments of folk and psychedelia together, giving their sound dimension while still being easy to listen to. Their downplayed country-tinged indie rock gives you lyrics of life as a musician and balancing real life with work. You quickly find yourself grooving to their sound especially with their most recent release Hotel Parties (September 25, Easy Sound Recording Co.). The Futurebirds’ live show gives you something that isn’t textbook when it comes to performing on stage; you melt into their harmonies while wanting to jam out. Sunday’s performance at Ships Of The Sea provided the same fruitfulness that their albums deliver, but with greater intensity.

Futurebirds layered their set with new and old, including a cover of the “Godfather of Grunge” Neil Young’s “Powderfinger,” with Grant Gustafson of Blank Range joining them on stage. Grant nailed the guitar riffs, and sent them soaring through the venue. As they continue and Grant exits the stage, the covers just kept coming. Justin Osborne of SUSTO joined them next to perform CCR’s “Lodi”. Justin belted out the John Fogarty lyrics about a down and out musician and the rest of the band joined in to deliver the chorus “Oh Lord, stuck in Lodi again.” This was a festival amongst friends of the road, the rest of SUSTO jumped on stage to sing a song written by Johnny Delaware about making sweet love on a mountain top. As the bands shared the stage, the camaraderie and friendships that they have built from being on the road together were obvious, both sharing a love of music and having fun doing it. “SUSTO-Birds” delivered one of the highlights of Savannah Stopover.

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Mass Gothic are a Massachusetts-bred, but New York-based band that blends multiple genres against Noel Heroux’s falsetto. Heroux leads with pop hooks while his band surrounds his voice with ever changing genres within their music. Their self-titled album (February, 5 Sub Pop Records), takes on a chameleon-like approach blending itself into particular types of music to invoke a feeling within each song, instead of capturing a particular mood through the entire album. Mass Gothic has created something truly unique with their recent release; it continually changes shape while listening, being careful not to be too literal with their sound. They filled The Jinx with a genre-blending set, each song weaving itself together with pop, R&B, new wave, and punk with heavy synth becoming the binding agent of each track. Noel Heroux knows how to mix each one without making it sound like a giant mess; Its perfectly intertwined to create the different moods as he conveys his mixed emotions from one track to the next.

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The trio known as Capsula are from Bilbao, Spain, and have ten albums with their latest, Santa Rosa, set to be released on April, 29th 2016. Vocalist/guitarist Martin Guevara, bassist/vocals Coni Duchess, and drummer Guantxe combine a mixture of garage rock, psych, and glam rock. They graced the stage of The Jinx for their second performance that week and started set with a tremendous amount of energy. Guantxe establishes the pace with his intense drum that’s completely in your face; he consistently pays close attention to the rest of the band as to how to set the rest of the pace to every song. Capsula brings an energy that they barely ever steer away from; they shred their builds with fuzzed out guitar that climbs the walls against the rhythm of the bass and insane drums that you can feel beating in your chest. They are all over the stage and dive into the crowd not afraid of giving it everything they have. During their set you hear small reminders of everything from 60’s style rock and roll of The Who to 90’s grunge of Sonic Youth. Their set climbed the walls of The Jinx and was leading us into the perfect close to the weekend. Capsula revisited their cover of David Bowie’s “Ziggy Stardust” and “Suffragette City” before concluding their performance, their tribute of the Starman are spot on and a perfect ending.

Savannah Stopover gave the entire weekend an intimate showcase while filling their bill with bands of worthy notoriety. With the intimacy, approachability and quality of bands of their festival these are the main reason someone should consider attending Stopover. Sure the larger festivals are great, but when you give us three solid filled days of music to attend within a small square pocket of a historical city, it’s hard to say no to Savannah Stopover. Stopover is almost like the south’s best-kept secret. Savannah Stopover lends itself to discovery, you get to see bands you might not have heard of, and finding something that you may love. If you are a music junkie then this is a festival for you. Here’s to looking to Stopover 2017.

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

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