A chick–rock clique of semi–locals with kickass vocals, Lovely Locks champion the Savannah music scene, feminism and whiskey.
At the Sparetime, late on a rainy Monday, Lovely Locks manage to draw a decent crowd. Their setlist features a blend of homespun pop imbued with folk–rock bursts of bluegrass grit — and a show-stopping Rage Against the Machine cover. The three friends all take turns handing off lead vocals, heating up the cold night when they belt it hard, play it loud and stomp it fast.
Diminutive, pixie–cut blonde Crystina Parker, formerly of General Oglethorpe and the Panhandlers, plays guitar. She represents the folky–bluegrass aspect of the Locks.
"I grew up playing in bluegrass bars," Parker says in her straightforward Southern drawl. "I tried to kick it but it won't die."
She's small enough that you want to put her in your pocket — pink suspenders, skinny jeans and all.
Style maven Anna Chandler, with vintage twists knotted up in her hair, pumps the accordion. Also a veteran of General O, Chandler brings a soft spot for classic rock to the trio.
"I started learning Metallica tabs off the Internet when I was, like, 15," she says. "I thought I was really hardcore." Swaying in black heels, Chandler lends an exotic, almost foreign inflection. There's danger of getting lost and running aground listening to that voice.
Shaking back piles of red hair and wailing in a distinctive, throaty rasp, knock–out Britt "Gingy" Scott stomps out on percussion. Scott stirs a pop, punk and electronica influence into the Lovely Locks mix. Her childhood music dug into dance and radio Top 40 club songs by La Bouche and Soft Cell.
"I made mix tapes of the 'Top 9 at 9' on the local dance station," Scott explains. "Rock was way later."
The girl band (and girl bond) stemmed from a shared love of music. Parker and Scott met through open mic nights, officially forming the Locks in summer 2011.
"We just started showing up to each other's shows and learning each other's songs by sitting there and listening the whole time," Parker says about the beginning of their friendship. "I remember playing a song once and I could hear Britt out there, singing the harmony."
Scott laughs and looks over at her bandmate. "We were at Wild Wings at an open mic, and I think I just walked up to you and I was like, 'Wanna start a girl band?' You said, 'Yeah.' And that was it."
Chandler was a late addition in the spring of 2012.
"The first time I met [Parker], she was on a roof and she was playing the Pixies and she yelled, 'Sing with me!' real loud in my face. This girl was crazy," Chandler remembers.
About the local scene, Chandler says they've "definitely found a home there." To round out the Lovely Locks sound for bigger shows, bassist Eric Dunn (The Train Wrecks) and drummer Tom Worley (Sad Bastards, Jasper and the Prodigal Sons) sometimes join the group.
Theirs is a collaboration designed to feed off one another's strengths. All three write songs, and while each can shout it out raw on lead vocals, their three-part harmonies are pitch-perfect. The lyrics are grittier, and more blunt that pop; they're definitely more honest. Scott's song "You Don't Really Care About Me" starts: "We're not really lovers, we're barely even friends, I just let you have it every now and again."
The song, Scott says, is about "being dicked around by men. Singing with my girlfriends makes me feel a little better about it."
Early on, men were a problem, trying to talk to the band members as if they were barflies perched on stools rather than musicians performing onstage. At one of their earlier shows, some guy even attempted to play Parker's bass. While she was playing it.
"We didn't know how to handle it. We weren't taken seriously, and I realized it was because I wasn't giving off the attitude that I needed to be taken seriously," Scott says. "Now, we handle it perfectly fine."
Honing survival skills in bars, adds Chandler, "takes getting used to, knowing that's going to happen every time because you're onstage in a male–dominated profession. Either you sass back or let them know you don't give a shit."
Parker: "Something you're working on constantly is how you allow people to talk to you; and from that, the spirit of Lovely Locks was born."
These women rage in style, wearing matching black jackets with spikes on the shoulders and the words "LOVELY LOCKS" dotted in rhinestones across the back. Just three fashion–forward friends with diverging musical tastes who like to try on each other's favorite brands.
The trio spent the past few weeks writing new music and lining up shows. There's talk of laying down some tracks for an EP and maybe going on a spring tour. But none of the Locks feel any pressure to be anyone other than who they are. They play what they want to play when they want to play it.
"The future doesn't matter," Parker says. "We'll always be playing music, and we'll always support each other."
Lovely Locks play two Savannah Stopover shows; that's two chances to get it while it's hot.