The 2018 Savannah Stopover Music Festival has come to a close and once again fans packed various venues around downtown Savannah, Ga. to see national, international and regional touring bands. Among the showcases and special events, there was even a nude party! Well, a fully-clothed performance by Boone, N.C’s The Nude Party, that is.
One of the most cherished venues for Savannah Stopover is historic Trinity Church, where fans sit in the pews and watch the show play out on a large stage where the pipes of the church’s magnificent pipe organ glisten in the background. Acts like Sam Lewis and Colter Wall played the house of worship, as did a band from Israel called Lola Marsh. The Tel Aviv-based band, fronted by singer Yael Shoshana Cohen, plays energetic pop that definitely has a Middle East vibe to it, and Cohen showed off her talent for whistling a melody as well as playing acoustic guitar and ukulele.
Every once in a while a bit of synchronicity would grace a show, as it did when Savannah band Enen ended their set at the Congress Street Social Club. The club has a string of decorative lighting framing the stage, and just as the last note of Enen’s show was played, the lights came tumbling down and a couple of the small incandescent bulbs broke with loud pops, giving the show a dramatic close. “Wow, I wish we’d done that on purpose,” quipped band namesake Isaac Enen. Next up on the club’s stage, with lighting back in place, was Wilder Maker, who occasionally sounded like Fleetwood Mac, thanks not only to song arrangements but also to singer Katie Von Schleicher’s Stevie Nicks-like vocals. The band played cuts from their Saddle Creek repertoire including “Only Child” and “New Streets.”
Popping light bulbs weren’t the only surprises at the Savannah Stopover Music Festival; the festival also had several “secret shows” where the performers weren’t announced until an hour before the show. One such show, featuring Americana artist Caleb Caudle, took place on the patio of Edgar’s Proof & Provision, a restaurant and bar at the DeSoto Hotel. The weather was a bit nippy as the show began around dinnertime and Caudle noted that it was the first time he ever performed in a heavy jacket. Fans meanwhile enjoyed the show in a space that was nice and warm thanks to the bar’s many patio heaters.
Some of the acts that played rock bar the El-Rocko Lounge over the course of the festival included FRIGS, Yonatan Gat, Charles Fauna and David Barbe & Inward Dream Ebb. Barbe and company played a particularly raucous set, with David noting before the show began that the guitar he was going to play was notorious for going out of tune easily, amusingly asking the crowd to “accept it as part of the charm.” With the band having three guitarists altogether and generally whipping up a six-string maelstrom on almost every song if Barbe’s guitar ever went out of tune, no one noticed.
One of the most buzzed-about shows was the performance by the Jon Stickley Trio at rock club The Jinx. Comprised of Stickley on acoustic guitar, violinist Lindsay Pruett and drummer Hunter Deacon, the trio played a hopped-up set of jazzy violin-driven tunes that often recalled the frenetic side of jazz fusion violinist Jon Luc Ponty. Pruett and Stickley played so hard at times that their technique could rightfully be called “shredding,” and some fans at the front of the crowd occasionally broke out their mosh pit moves.
Since every show at the Savannah Stopover Music Festival took place in an intimate venue, fans had lots of chances to meet the performers before and after their shows, either on the streets, in the clubs or at the merchandise tables. That added to the festival’s overall upbeat mood and smiles were the order of the day throughout the event as more than 80 acts performed.
Information about the 2019 Savannah Stopover Music Festival will be posted here.