As soon as Spring Break started, we headed downtown to check in with the great boys and girls who were handling all of the behind-the-scenes efforts of Savannah Stopover.
The annual tradition of Stopover began six years ago as an opportunity for bands traveling to the South by Southwest Festival in Austin, Texas a place to perform.
After a quick bite to eat, we headed directly to the first performance of the night at The Ships of The Sea Museum to catch Sun Beds and Ra Ra Riot. From there it was off to Ampersand to check out Culture Vulture and Acid Dad.
We concluded the night at an incredible performance by Mothers at Wild Wing Café. We were also able to join the fun on Saturday at the Graveface x Furious Hooves x Noisy Ghost Showcase at The Social Club on Congress. If you weren’t able to attend Stopover, check out some of the bands below:
Ra Ra Riot
Ra Ra Riot was the big headliner this year for Stopover. The five piece indie band hails from Syracuse, New York, where they began to make a name for themselves in early 2006. The group has released four studio albums to date, along with a slew of EP’s and singles.
This is a band that is renowned for their emphatic live performance and they certainly did not disappoint at their
performance this year. The Ships of The Sea museum gave audience members the opportunity to get close and see the musical chemistry flowing between the quintet.
If you’ve never seen Culture Vulture perform live, fix that as soon as possible. The jazz fusion trio played at Ampersand and as usual, they brought the party with them.
The three bandmates began playing in Savannah a little over three years ago, and the group quickly gained a reputation for soulful trumpeting melodies paired with math-y guitar licks, all layered over a frantic peppering of drums.
Culture Vulture recently released their first record, “Girls’ Night” on Bomb Shelter Records. The six track effort is a perfect way to check out this band, but nothing matches up to their live performance.
Acid Dad is a band that belongs in a bar for the rest of their time together. The New York City based quartet familiar mix of garage punk and psychedelic elements that have roots in classic bands like The Cramps or Brian Jonestown Massacre.
Nevertheless, they revealed a certain charismatic edge in their live performance, settling in to the upstairs stage at Ampersand as comfortably as if they were playing a quick set back in of their favorite Williamsburg haunts. The group began playing together only two years ago in 2014, but they’re quickly making a name for themselves.
Out of all the bands we saw this weekend, Mothers is the one that has really stood out among the others. The Athens based band has developed a devoted following over the years with their infectious blend of dream-poppy material, reminding me of a more math like version of Night School.
Vocalist Kristine Leschper croons over tracks, letting her voice break occasionally in a grating, yet tasteful sound. Melodies range all over the spectrum, dabbling in a precocious twinkle that gives way to a hair-raisingly abrasive wall of noise. This is definitely the band to focus on out of any that performed at Stopover.
Furious Hooves x Graveface x Noisy Ghost
We were able to catch the Graveface x Furious Hooves x Noisy Ghost showcase, held at The Social Club on Congress Street. Graveface and Furious Hooves are both local Savannah labels, while Noisy Ghost PR is a collaboration between Ryan Graveface and business partner Michelle King.
The group also presented a similar showcase at their respective stands at South by Southwest Festival later that week. Saturday was a perfect day for a showcase. The weather was perfectly sunny, with a nice breeze wafting through the packed Social Club courtyard. Bands played outside all day, starting at 2 in the afternoon until as late as 9 that evening.
The showcase was an excellent way to bring bands in from all over the country to present their musical magic for Stopover attendees.
Furious Hooves is Ryan McCardle’s brainchild. The label has been around since their first official release in 2011 with Without a Fight’s “The Sunny Side of Northwood,” but things really started taking off in the past few years as the releases began pouring out.
Since the start of 2016, Furious Hooves has already put out two releases, Dear Tracks “Soft Dreams,” and Saint Corsair’s “Velvet & Soil.” McCardle originally started out as the graphic designer for Graveface Records, working on multiple layouts and designs for various bands.
As he moved forward with his own efforts to start his own label, he brought a lot of the expertise he gained from his past experiences. All of the hard work is beginning to finally pay off for Furious Hooves and McCardle. In 2015, Furious Hooves was the runner-up to Graveface Records for Connect Savannah’s best local record label.
Local band Curbdogs opened the showcase with their wild blend of melodic pop music. The four piece began playing together a little more than a year ago, honing their skills and crazy live performance in the underground D.I.Y. scene, a fact that was made very clear when the bands bassist sought to get a more widespread view of the crowd by climbing on his amp. A great band to begin the show with.
Dear Tracks is a groovy foursome from Grand Rapids, Michigan comprised of members Matt Messore, Victoria Ovenden, Jacob Juodawlkis and Alex Militello. Not to be confused with ‘The Deer Tracks’ band, the group began in the fall of 2014 as the solo project of lead singer Matt Messore (formerly of You Blew It.) Messore moved to Michigan from Florida in hopes of starting a dream pop band.
Now promoting their new EP, “Soft Dreams” under Furious Hooves, the group performed at Social Club as part of Savannah Stopover. They’ve come a long way since their debut single “Wildflower” & “Connectivity” demo, but still carry the same delightful, alternative essence.
Forming in early 2014, Grand Vapids spent the course of a year recording its debut album “Guarantees.” Hard work paid off, earning them Flagpole Magazine’s Album of The Year in 2015. On “Guarantees,” recorded at Chase Park Transduction with indie rock producer Drew Vandenberg, members McKendrick Bearden and Austin Harris did a majority of the songwriting together. The music on this album is warm and timeless with a sort of 90s moodiness as a backdrop. The Athens based group offered a refreshing nostalgia to Stopover at The Social Club.