What is this, Savannah Stopover?
Nope, that happens in March. The thing is, there are so many bands in town this week—mostly visitors from the proverbial elsewhere—that it might as well be a mini-Stopover.
But these shows are entirely unrelated. You can’t buy a wristband and check ‘em all out for one low, low price. There’s something in the air (and you know that it’s right).
Here are our recommendations (check the regular Soundboard listings for a full accounting of who and what’s onstage everywhere). See you ‘round the clubs.
Thursday, June 26
Agalloch, with Vex and Blackrune, at the Jinx. For 18 years now, the Portland, Oregon band Agalloch—subgenre metal from the Pacific Northwest is known as “Cascadian”—has been virtually without peer when it comes to a stirred elixir of brooding black metal, doom and neo-folk. The band makes sure the gig-air is permeated by the smell of burning wood-smoke, and the performance is broad, theatrical. In reviewing The Serpent and the Sphere, Agalloch’s brand-new, ambitious album, Spin said this: “Agalloch is one of the best bands in modern metal. This isn’t a question; it’s a fact, one corroborated by a world-class discography that stretches back nearly 20 years.” Vocalist John Haughm explained to a recent interviewer “We felt that it was a good moment for us to step away from earthly themes and dive into something greater. Greater than mankind and his gods. Greater than the ego. Greater than everything in this speck of dust we call existence.” With our own mystic noisemakers Blackrune and the Austin metal quartet Vex. 10 p.m.
Silver Screen Orchestra, Sunglow, Culture Vulture, Shapes & Their Names at the Wormhole. Remember the remarkable Pan, from the 2013 Stopover? That band's Nathan Stewart and Kayla Breitwieser are now known as Silver Screen Orchestra, guitar and violin, and they perform against a backdrop of public domain film footage. Sunglow is the electronic side project of Crazy Bag Lady drummer Daniel Lynch, Culture Vulture (Nick, Matthew and James) is a progressive instrumental trio, and Tyler, Lee and Zachary are the “indie pop” trio Shapes & Their Names. Culture Vulture plays Graveface Records the next night, with Time Hitler & the Assholes From Space.
Sharkmuffin, Dead Stars, Crazy Bag Lady and Beneath Trees at Hang Fire. Brooklyn’s Sharkmuffin is a jagged-edge punk trio, all girls, but the comparisons to The Coathangers end there. Although they rock hard, Sharkmuffin is poppier, with more attention paid to melody, song structure and deeply-ingrained influences like girl-groups and surfy ‘60s garage rock. Favorite song: “Mermaid Sex Slave.” The band’s hometown homies Dead Stars play chunky, fuzzy rock, rich with ‘60s-flavored hooks. A potentially great show with local firepower as support.10 p.m.
Friday, June 27
Yo Mama’s Big Fat Booty Band and Omingnome at Barrelhouse South. From Asheville, the acknowledged funk capital of the South, comes Yo Mama’s guys and a gal, and hot damn it’s always sweatbox central when Mary “Mama Funk” Francis (vocals and keys), JP “Smoke Machine” Miller and the rest of the posse roll into town. Yet somehow this night belongs to Omingnome, the sweet, pseudo-psychedelic hippie band that’s releasing an original EP at this show. The one out front, on vocals and theremin, is the delightful Melissa Hagerty (ex-Word of Mouth); her partner in creativity here is singer/guitarist Tyler Cutitta. Eric Braun and Tony Bravaro round things out on drums and bass, respectively.
Triathalon, Little Tybee and Giant Giants at Hang Fire. Despite naming the band after a touchstone of our local geography, the members of jazzy folk-rocking Little Tybee have been based in Atlanta for a few years now (after coming together as SCAD students here in the SAV). Now a six-piece, LT has evolved into a shining star on the ATL indie scene, mostly because of the creative alchemy between Brock Scott (vocals, piano, guitar) and Josh Martin (8-string guitar). Call it orchestral acousti-pop, call it Fleet Foxes South, call it wholly original—hey, it all fits. I actually wrote this five years ago: “Little Tybee is like a pleasant chemical drive down a rabbit hole into the unknown, a place where Jerry Garcia meets Sufjan Stevens for tea and biscuits.” Our local surf-rockers Triathalon have a cool new 7-inch out on Soft Science (“Swells/Usher Surfing”) and are otherwise up to no good again; Asheville’s Giant Giants is a unique percussion-heavy ensemble put together by Reid Wagner. 10 p.m.
Saturday, June 28
Knife at Graveface Records & Curiosities. Savannah rapper and masterful beats creator Kedrick Mack (of Dope Sandwich, of course) is celebrating the release of another all-original album, Iconoclast. He’s performing the entire album live. Guests: Basik Lee, DJ Maf. 7-9 p.m., all ages.
The Coathangers, with the Sawyer Family and COEDS, at the Jinx. What can we tell you that you don’t already know? There’s a Coathangers interview elsewhere in this issue. COEDS is a local pop/rock band; the Sawyer Family is a heavy-duty “stoner-billy” trio from the great state of Oregon.
Monday, June 30
David Dondero and Nightingale News at Ampersand. No less a barometer of cool than National Public Radio named David Dondero one of the planet’s “Best Living Songwriters,” along with Bob Dylan, Paul McCartney, Tom Waits (and Aimee Mann!) in 2006. Tall order, that, considering that Townes Van Zandt was still alive at the time.. At any rate, the Minnesota singer/guitarist is an acquired taste—much like Waits, if we’re honest with ourselves—and has released seven acclaimed albums since 1999. Savannah singer, songwriter, guitarist and part-time classical double bassist Coy Campbell opens this show, under his nom de stage Nightingale News. Campbell’s well-known in these parts as the harmony-singing bass player for Waits & Co. 8 p.m.
A little news
• Drivin N Cryin returns yet again July 5, for a 6 p.m. show at the Coach’s Corner Sound Garden. Thomas Claxton & the Myth will open; tickets are $20 via brownpapertickets.com.
• Well, it’s official. Guitarist Johan Harvey has announced that he has left The Royal Noise, the amazing jazz fusion band he co-founded here in Savannah. Since Johan lives in Pennsylvania now, I can’t imagine we’ll be seeing as much of him after this split.
• Speaking of Savannah Stopover, the folks in the office are selling tickets to a chartered bus trip to Bragg Jam in Macon, July 26. It’s 57 bands on 14 stages. Check out savannahstopover.com for the details.
• Georgia native Phillip Phillips, who took First Place on Season 11 of TV’s American Idol, has been announced as the musical headliner for Savannah’s third Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon, Nov. 8. Phillips, who last performed in Savannah in April 2013, is a native of Albany, Ga. He’s known for the hit 2012 singles “Home” and “Gone Gone Gone.”