Taj Mahal, Bela Fleck among 2nd weekend headliners at Savannah Music Festival as an amazing March comes to an end

What a month for music in Savannah.

Every music lover had a unique experience in March, but just consider a few of the shows, performers, and events.

March started with Band of Horses’ acoustic performance at Trustees Theater — amazing. Click here for a short review and some photos. That link will take you, by the way, to the music blog hissing lawns, where I and some other contributors are routinely posting music news and photo galleries.

We also have a pretty active Facebook page for hissing lawns. Please go give it a like if you want regular updates about the local and regional music scene. Facebook continues to be a critical driver of traffic for small blogs like hissing lawns and Savannah Unplugged. (You can like Savannah Unplugged on Facebook by clicking on the box at the top of the sidebar on the right.)

After BOH’s great show, we went right into Savannah Stopover. We have tons of posts and galleries at hissing lawns about Stopover, but readers of this blog might especially be interested in some of the reviews from out-of-town critics, a few of which I excerpted in one post. Among the highlights of the festival: St. Paul and The Broken Bones, Those Darlins, The Weeks, Future Islands, Big Ups, Oberhofer, Small Black, and on and on.

The outdoor music planned for St. Patrick’s Day was significantly compromised by the weather and the timing of a Monday parade, but I have been generally critical of the whole notion that we need to charge downtown visitors for wristbands so that we can fund lots of stages. Still, there was certainly some good music to be found over that long weekend.

Anyway, moving on: the Savannah Music Festival — now in its 25th year (about half of those years as Savannah Onstage) — is having another stellar year.

I’ve seen five shows — all sellouts:

  • The Avett Brothers
  • Asif Ali Khan
  • Punch Brothers
  • Jason Isbell
  • Preservation Hall Jazz Band

By the way, I bought two tickets each to Punch Brothers and the Avetts, and I use a press pass to get into some of the general admission shows.

All 5 of those shows were tremendous productions, although I don’t know if I’ll go see The Avett Brothers again unless they get some more great music out there. As I noted in my Unplugged column in Do a couple of days ago, I think the band’s best work is now a few years old. And now that they’re headed deep into their 30s, the Avetts won’t be able to rely quite as much on that young, sexy vibe that helped them get where they are.

Punch Brothers, on the other hand . . . it’s too bad in a way that the five members all seem to have other projects being juggled simultaneously. One wonders just how good they’d be if they devoted their full attention to such a rich project. Led by Chris Thile — who on stage has sort of a seductive slitheriness that seems like a combination of Jude Law and Frank Gorshin’s The Riddler — the band wowed the audience at Trustees last Saturday night from start to finish.

I wrote a short review of Jason Isbell’s show for hissing lawns, and I have a bit more to say about the wonderful, vibrant performance by Asif Ali Khan and his ensemble in my City Talk column tomorrow (Sunday).

And note that both Do and Connect are providing extensive and excellent SMF coverage on pretty much a daily basis.

So tonight I have tickets to Taj Mahal. A legend. John Simon is opening, in what promises to be an interesting and idiosyncratic walk through pop history.

And tomorrow I have tickets for an afternoon show with Bela Fleck and Abigail Washburn. Yes.

Taj Mahal is sold out, as are the two shows today by Kristina Train and Pokey LaFarge that I plugged on hissing lawns, and Fleck/Washburn is close to sold out, but it can’t hurt to check the Savannah Box Office website or just show up at the venues.

So, anyway, what more could one want from a month of music in a city the size of Savannah? There have been some great club dates too — both by touring acts and by musicians based here.