4th of July live music: Hairy Chest Fest at Taco Abajo

I meandered around downtown Savannah pretty much all day on the 4th. I’ve already posted photos of the Savannah Dance Festival’s flash mob dance performance on River Street.

I also spent a couple hours in the afternoon at Taco Abajo on Broughton Street, which recently expanded underneath Urban Outfitters and now features bands regularly. I don’t really like the way the space has been arranged for music, but the low-ceilinged basement worked out pretty well for the Hairy Chest Fest, which booked about 20 acts from noon onward — a pretty impressive organizational feat. (Btw, a few complaints about the name Hairy Chest Fest prompted one of the organizers to emphasize the relative randomness of it.)

Taco Abajo is one of the few all-ages venues available downtown, and the crowd on the 4th was very young when I was there. And that’s a good thing. A dark basement with lots of rock and roll seems like a perfect spot for “kids” 20 and under to hang out on a holiday afternoon.

Which brings me around once again to something I’ve written about before: the ways in which current ordinances have divided older music fans from younger ones. When Savannah used to allow 18-20 year olds to see music at venues that are primarily bars, young adults had more to do in supervised settings and had a chance to enjoy the city’s live music scene.

I guess I have about 2,000 Facebook contacts who live in the Savannah area, but only about 40 of them even got FB invites to Hairy Chest Fest. I try to keep pretty closely in touch with the local live music scene, as do a number of my friends. But most didn’t know about the music on the 4th because the younger and older crowds are so divided.

I’ve written about this problem when mentioning bands like Triathalon, which amassed hundreds of fans via house parties before more mainstream music fans like me had even heard of them.

Part of my reason for going to Hairy Chest Fest was actually to hear a couple of Triathalon side projects — Wet Socks (Hunter Jayne) and Sauna Heat (Michael Younker).

Here’s their sound:

I also made a point of being at Taco Abajo for Dead Yet?, a great punk/hardcore band. It was beautiful to see an established local band like that on hand for a show with a younger audience that probably never gets a chance to see their gigs. Here’s what Dead Yet? is up to:

And I took a few pics, although the lighting makes quality photography pretty tough.

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