The final day of Stopover proved to be the best, capping off the festival with a full day of local bands, record showcases, and the most challenging game of schedule roulette so far. Brooklyn psych-folkers The Loom hit the backyard stage at Blowin’ Smoke, and although they were down two members and a few instruments, their performance still generated the energy of a band twice their size. Their epic seven-minute set closer “Morning Song/Mountain Song” ebbed and flowed, storing energy between the percussive fits-and-starts and unleashing it in kinetic bursts. Even the employees were in tune with the rhythm, pausing tentatively on the offbeat while clearing glasses.
Another outdoor spectacle, the flower-filled courtyard at the Ships of the Sea Maritime Museum, hosted Philly’s The War on Drugs for one of the night’s most stunning shows. Although their soundcheck lasted nearly as long as the set, the wait was worth it—witnessing the jazzy version of “I Was There” as it drifted off the smoky blue stage like a light breeze was justification enough.
The festival closers were scheduled head-to-head, but thanks to set up delays we snuck in for a quickie with The Love Language, bouncing around the raucous dance party with Stu McLamb and company for a few songs, and still managed to catch all of Delicate Steve. Hands down the best set of the week, Delicate Steve unleashed an electric onslaught that was so good it hurt; combining crushing guitar riffs, rapid-fire percussion, and vivid color wheels of synth. They delivered the festival’s most expressive set without using a single word.
Steve Marion also racked up some bonus points for his hilarity onstage. At one point he leaned over mid-shred and snagged a bite of pizza from a fan in the front row without missing a beat, and later he dedicated a song to “not that girl” as she walked out of the venue. After the set he stuck around to chat about tour adventures, strange encounters with bugs, and the rousing sounds of now-defunct Baltimore art rockers, Ponytail—who hold the title for best live set he’s ever seen. By the end of the night Marion was unanimously voted “Pretty Much the Coolest Guy Ever.”
All in all, Stopover was epic in its simplicity. The entire festival was structured around artist-focused hospitality, quality scheduling and personal connections—between the artists and fans, the organizers and performers and the community as a whole. Savannah’s walkability, added road soda bonus (drink-in-the-street extra credit points!), and magical surroundings created a truly unique festival atmosphere.
If SXSW is an exercise in excess—proof that there can be too much of a good thing, then Savannah Stopover is an achievement of balance—a celebration of the abundance in the concept of ‘enough.’
Best transformation of a venue into a human particle accelerator: Delicate Steve
Best dueling floor tom percussion attack: Caveman
Best new discovery: Grandchildren
Best alternate reality visuals: Grimes
Best face melt: The Loom
Most buzzed about band we didn’t catch: Buxton
Best caffeine substitute: Oberhofer
Best local band: KidSyc@Brandywine
Best place to get a road soda: Pinkie Master’s
Best festival souvenir: Vintage photo booth shots from Obscura (assuming the Zappa penny press coin doesn’t count since it was purchased during a layover in Maryland).
Best makeshift venue: The courtyard garden at the Ships of the Sea Maritime Museum