If you are in the southeast United States, the Savannah Stopover is a great festival to catch. It starts on March 8th, and the party doesn’t wind down until March 10th. With bands like of Montreal, Wild Child, and Nikki Lane headlining this southeast secret, this festival has something for everyone. With genres ranging from lo-fi and shoegaze to hip-hop and the Nashville sound, everyone is bound to catch a band they already love, and find a few more to fall in love with. One really cool part about the Savannah Stopover is that they are overflowing with so much talent, that they have secret shows spread throughout the weekend. They post the artist to their Twitter an hour before the show starts, so make sure you follow them here and have your running shoes on.
Also, if you can, get there a night early. They are going to have “The Night Before Stopover”, and with hosts like Graveface Records, Green Truck Pub, and Lagunitas, it’s bound to be a fun night that gets you in the right mindset for the weekend to come.
Our favorite part about this festival? It’s a treasure trove of phenomenal undiscovered talent! The three of us dove into the lineup list, and drafted a five band team of who we want to see at the Savannah Stopover. The rules to the draft are simple: We each get five bands, the draft goes in a serpentine fashion (last person of the first round is first in the second round), and you can only have two bands that you’ve listened to prior to the draft. Without further ado, here we go!
Seth: The Cave Singers
With great power, comes great responsibility. I landed the first pick of the draft, and with so much talent, I had to play it smart. I decided I needed a band that I wanted to party with until early in the morning, but would put me to bed softly at the end. The Cave Singers are that band. With songs like “Black Leaf” and “Christmas Night,” they are a band that will have you sweating and shaking into the stuffy Savannah night. Then, after an hour of dancing, they’ll bring it down to a quiet lullaby with “Distant Sures” and give you time to get the names of all your new dance partners.
Buy their newest album: Banshee
Nathan: Stoop Kids
Topping in at Number One for me is Stoop Kids, a funky five piece from New Orleans. Their music is hard to define, but it falls somewhere in the spectrum between psychedelic jazz and New Orleans hip hop (and yes, I know that the scope of that spectrum is pretty vague). If you haven’t heard their track “Stoop Life” from their debut album What a World, do yourself the favor of playing it on your morning commute. It’s a sleepy, rhythmic piece that I find myself grooving to more often than not on most mornings. These guys tour around the continental United States pretty frequently, so if you ever find yourself in the vicinity of one of their shows, make sure to get tickets.
Buy their most recent album: Queue: The Mixtape
Caleb: of Montreal
The song I know by of Montreal the best, and probably most people know the best is “Wraith Pinned to the Mist and Other Games” from way back in 2005. The infectious “Let’s pretend we don’t exist/ let’s pretend we’re in Antartica” made me fall in love with them with their Beatles (after they found drugs) sort of vibe. But they actually just put out a new single this year that I had no idea about. Their sound has….changed, and it’s pretty weird and amazing. From the opening line that repeats “fucked in your driveway” to the trippy synths, the newer of Montreal sets have to be perfect for a festival setting. Find your beer or substance of choice and buckle up for an amazing set at the end of a beautiful lineup full of wonderful acts.
Buy their most recent album: Innocence Reaches
Caleb: Public Access TV
The song I would start out is “Metrotech” off their most recent album. It’s got this super smooth bass line rolling throughout it along with some really cool vocals. At their best this band has some elements of funk, disco, alt. rock, and tons of other iterations thereof. I imagine their set will be one of the most energetic of the entire festival. This band is a must see.
Buy their most recent album: Street Safari [Explicit]
My second pick was pronoun, the one-woman show that is Alyse Vellturo. I’d never heard her before this draft but her Her 2016 EP, There’s no one new around you., isn’t something I could find myself listening to when I’m not fully focused on the sounds coming out of my headphones. While through it I can’t help but close my eyes and just get carried away by the sweet synth-pop melodies. It only being four tracks helps however, since I don’t have to zone out for long. Her newest single, Run, came out this year.
Buy her most recent EP: There’s no one new around you
Seth: The War & Treaty
Admittedly, my only exposure to The War & Treaty prior to researching who we wanted to draft was their song Hi Ho, but after very minimal research on the harmoniously married powerhouse of Michael and Tanya Trotter, they easily secured my second draft pick. With vocals that very few on this planet can match singularly, the two of them together form an incomparable duet. The key to them stealing the number 2 spot on my draft board is their electric live performances. I watched their entire performance at The Kennedy Center, and found myself multiple times per song burying my face in my hands in disbelief of what they’re willing to try and crush in their live performance. A lot of artists play it safe during live performances, and let their ad libbing shine more on their albums. That’s not the case with The War & Treaty. They build on their soulful album and add even more soul in the live performance. I’ll be seeing them live at Rhythm and Blooms in Knoxville, but I desperately want to make the 4 1/2 hour trip to Savannah to see them next weekend. Bonus Fact: Michael learned to play piano on a piano in one of Saddam Hussein’s palaces.
Buy their newest album: Down to the River
Seth: Mo Lowda and the Humble
Keeping a theme of growly strong vocals, Mo Lowda and the Humble take my third pick. With songs like “The Way Home” where the guitar and the smooth vocals hang in the air long after the song ends alongside the growl and cacophonous guitar in “Lazy Minds,” they are festival fodder that everyone needs to see.
Buy their album here: Curse the Weather
Number three was SLEEPWALKERS. Their song “Cocaine” evokes such a warm, Summer-y feeling from me with its bright guitar and high vocals. It makes me ready for warmer days, days where all this damn pollen is gone already. The Virginian quartet’s melodies have gotten stuck in my head several times now after first listening to them, and although they only have one album out at the moment, I’m eagerly awaiting the next.
Buy their most recent album: Greenwood Shade
Caleb: Okey Dokey
You should start with the song “Wavy Gravy” for sure. It has this excellent throwback vibe that mixes elements of a band like The Black Keys with some crooning of the 50s. It sounds like a song that would fit in the old Disney movie “Susie Q” (side note: I really hope that reference is still relevant in 2018). This is the band you should go see when you need a laid back break from dancing to see some people with some excellent vocals.
Buy their most recent album: Love You, Mean It
Caleb: Sarah Shook and the Disarmers
You know what? I’m going to be honest with you, I picked this band because their name stood out to me. I’m a window shopper. Then I went to their Spotify and listened to the song “Fuck Up” off their full length album, and I fell in love. Female vocals with a country twang along with elements of grunge. Think a modern iteration of Janis Joplin with a mix of Julien Baker and a slide guitar, specific enough? You have to look up this song! If it doesn’t go on your playlist, I suspect you’re a lot happier than I am. “God never makes mistakes, he just makes fuck ups”.
Buy their most recent album: Sidelong
Nathan: White Violet
I, like Caleb, also picked this band purely by name. But as soon as I heard their lead singer’s soft, smooth vocals I was immediately entranced. The trippy backbeat to their song “Waves” is the perfect mood music for a long drive at night or one of those evenings where you find yourself sitting around with nothing to do. In fact, most of their songs that I’ve listened to so far are great chill-out-and-do-nothing tunes, ones I’ll probably listen to when unwinding in a long bath or as background music for a rainy day where I catch up on some reading.
Buy their most recent album: Ages
Seth: The Pauses
Keeping in theme with judging off of names, the name of the Pauses actually had me hesitant… or made me… take pause? Bands with the name setup, “The (insert one vague word here)” are very hit and miss. The Shins? Yeah. The Verve? Nah. The Accidentals? Sure, I’m in. The Script? Keep ’em. See what I mean? Then, when I saw that they are from “Mickeytown USA” instead of Orlando, there was even more hesitation. What a pleasant surprise! Tierney Tough, the lead vocalist, has a very bright voice that pairs very well with the glitchy synth sounds that accompany her. With their most recent album being from 2011, I’m excited to see the direction that they have taken on their second full length album that will be released later this spring.
Buy their first album here: A Cautionary Tale
Seth: Sun Parade
This is my steal of the draft. These guys embody what the Savannah Stopover is. The founder, Kayne Lanahan, has her finger on the pulse of indie music, and knows who is going to be next year’s headliners. The whole lineup is stacked, and Sun Parade is no different. From the opening whistles of “Braindrain” to the perfect pitch falsetto in “Hearts Out,” Sun Parade has a groove that is unmistakable. With instrumentals ranging from Motown and funk to barking headstrong indie rock, Sun Parade is as versatile as the festival itself.
Buy their most recent album: Shuggy Mtn Breakdown
Nathan: Vita and the Woolf
I really love female vocals, especially soulful ones like Vita and the Woolf’s lead singer, Jennifer Pague. Her voice is just so… ugh, I can’t even put the emotions it makes me feel to words. Combined with the energetic and dynamic drumming on each track and the beautiful, swelling chords in the background, I found myself getting a little teary at certain points of their album Tunnels. I’m probably going to be shouting the lyrics to “Mary” on my drives very frequently over the next several weeks, trying not to tear up at the drop where the soft keys play behind Pague’s vocals.
Buy their most recent album: Tunnels
Caleb: The Vegabonds
If you are going to this festival I assume you’re from the south, or you have interests in the south. Now, even though I grew up in the south not really loving country music, elements of country got stuck in my bones. I love blue grass. I love twangy vocals. The Vegabonds take the elements of country that I actually like and embrace them perfectly. Song to listen to first? “Oh My Lord” off their most recent album. The harmonies are beautiful. There are elements here that almost remind me of Rob Thomas, before he got too poppy. This band is a must see, and then you can tell all your friends that you are there with about them beforehand and look like a badass.
Buy their most recent album: What We’re Made Of
Who drafted the best lineup? Let us know in the comments below.
Kicking off festival season, the Savannah Stopover is your place to catch a lot of your favorite artists as they’re going to SXSW, but the beauty of the Stopover is that you are guaranteed to find a lot of new favorites. Kayne and her team have put together incredible lineups for the past seven years that have consistently hit on artists right before their breakout. The Savannah Stopover is the festival for you if you’re wanting to see the best of tomorrow while still having a solid mix of people in the middle of their break like of Montreal and Wild Child. Having the city of Savannah, objectively one of the best cities in the country, as a backdrop is just a huge bonus.