March is the best time of year for live music fans. Before festival season officially rolls in, up-and-coming bands hit the road destination Austin, Texas and SXSW. They’re not going to waste the dates driving there without booking shows on the way, so venues and cities all across America benefit. Of those, Savannah and Stopover Festival take the most advantage.
First off, Savannah is an incredible host city for the festival. Full of history, arts, and open to people having a good time in general. You can drink on the streets surrounded by a bachelorette party or two, so some are oblivious to the fact that there is even a music festival going on. It’s all about the good laid back vibes, and way less hectic for bands and fans alike than SXSW.
At Stopover we’ve seen Lucy Dacus in a Wild Wing and Julien Baker in a beautiful church. Every single year you can count on seeing at least one performance that leaves awestruck.
Now in its ninth year, Stopover does an amazing job at booking small font bands who are on their way to becoming large font bands, and larger font bands who are big enough to draw a crowd, but a band your coworker probably won’t know. For music lovers, and lovers of music discovery, it’s the perfect level of obscurity, with enough bands we love and a level of trust that we get excited listening through the lineup to find our next favorite band.
So who are some must see acts this year outside of the larger headliners? Because, at this point all indie music fans have heard of the top few. By the way, that’s another kudos to Stopover for scheduling the festival so it’s possible to catch a ton of acts.
Here are our picks for must see acts of 2019
McKinley Dixon Friday March 8 at El Rocko Lounge 11 PM
I’m not sure when we started following McKinley Dixon on Twitter, but we didn’t initially follow him because of his music. It was later that we became a fan, but he’s a great follow because he fucking speaks up and uses his voice. He’s been tweeting a good bit about SXSW lately so hopefully Stopover will give him some hype leading into that week. Definitely don’t want to miss this set.
So yeah, imma be at SXSW. Hit my line and see my band blow every other act out the water.
— (@McKinleyDixon) February 26, 2019
The Artisanals Thursday March 7 at The Jinx 10:30
The Artisanals just returned from Europe a few days ago, and headed straight to Athens, GA to work on their new record. It’s about 50 percent complete and has a desert theme fitting of the band leading the heartland rock sound in America. They used to be South Carolina’s own, but having spent the last few years on the road they’ve become America’s band. Catch them in stride at Savannah Stopover before they head back out on the road for 30 more dates.
Skylar Gudasz Saturday March 9 at The Grey (Stopover in the Yard) 1 PM
The fact that Skylar Gudasz is playing at The Grey and Stopover in the Yard makes you have zero excuses for missing this set. Last year the wonderful Becca Mancari filled this slot and the year before that Charleston’s own The High Divers. I understand it’s not an ideal listening slot for a band, with people eating and conversing, but also, they’re playing for a bunch of music lovers who appreciate them. Gudasz voice will soar and keep the crowd hushed and introduce quite a few people to their new favorite voice and songwriter.
Caitlin Rose Friday March 8 at Service Brewing Company 7 PM
It’s hard to believe that Caitlin Rose’s Own Side Now is nearly a decade old. Really hard to believe. On the music front she’s been relatively quiet, with her last album The Stand In coming out in 2013. Rose has kept her name out there, with shows last year opening for Amanda Shires, and now these tour dates with Andrew Combs. Fingers crossed for a new album soon.
William Tyler Friday March 8 at Perry Lane Hotel 6 PM
On his new album Goes West out on Merge Records, Tyler blends his guitar style as only he can into something completely his own. Written for Aquarium Drunken he called his country and folk style “cosmic pastoral.” If you’ve never seen Tyler play guitar live, prepare to be blown away.