Savannah Stopover preview #6: Sims

This is the sixth in occasional posts previewing acts slated for the Savannah Stopover festival March 9-12, 2011. Check out previous posts about Astronautalis, Little Tybee, Class Actress, The Drenched Earth Tour, and Murder By Death, Fake Problems, and Buried Beds (those three bands share the bill at The Jinx on Saturday, March 12th).

Restless and passionate but with an unflinching realism at his core, Sims has seen enough of life to know there are no easy answers. His second full-length release, Bad Time Zoo, out February 15th on Doomtree Records, reflects this rapper’s ongoing quest for solid understanding in a society on the brink of dystopia. For Sims, it’s been a long road.

Andrew Sims grew up in the working-class Minneapolis suburb of Hopkins, Minnesota. His parents were both musicians with problems of their own, and Sims often had to look out for himself and his younger brother. “I was super short-fused,” he remembers. “I got in fights almost every day until I was about 13.”

That’s the beginning of the surprisingly interesting write-up about Sims on the Doomtree website. (Doomtree is a record label and a rap crew involved in “grassroots hip-hop,” according to the site, and I’ve got to say that someone also has a really sharp eye for graphic design. Doomtree’s graphics are great, and Sims’ are even better.)

Here’s “Burn It Down” from Sims’ recently released Bad Time Zoo:

Sims is on the same bill with Astronautalis, who has just hooked up with a live band — and the first clips online of the live show are just awesome. If you’re on Facebook, check out this live version of “Trouble Hunters” shot by a fan just a few days ago.

Sims and Astronautalis are playing a number of gigs together, which means we’re not the only city promised great night of hip-hop energy and musicianship. They’re stopping here on their way from one major music market to another — New York, Philly, Washington, Charlotte, Raleigh, Orlando — on their eventual way to Austin for SXSW.

I’m no expert on rap or hip-hop, but I’ve been writing more about it lately, including a post about our local KidSyc@Brandywine, a great young band that recently won a statewide contest and that will open for Das Racist on Wednesday, March 9th at The Jinx, the first night of the Stopover. As hip-hop is embraced by a new generation, it seems like the music — the really good stuff, not just the everyday knock-offs — allows for joy even as it explores the deep discontentment of our times. I’m a fan, and I’d sure love to see more people my age and older tune back in to hip-hop. They’re missing something special — and maybe missing something of great cultural import.

Sims is scheduled for 11 p.m., Thursday, March 10th, at The Wormhole in Savannah. Astronautalis is scheduled for midnight. (Dreamend opens the show at 10 p.m.; I’ll try to say something about that act between now and Thursday.) There are multiple gigs that night at five different venues, but I know where I’ll be.