May 31, 2016
Ah, summer! The final grades are in and relaxation season is here — which means it’s time for another Summer Session, courtesy of Airbound Entertainment and South City Tavern.
For the last few years, the two have been teaming up to bring bands from across the region and the nation to the Statesboro area. They have also been promoting the local music scene, building up some of the talent in the area. This year, Will Bridwell, owner/operator of Airbound and promoter of the event, is hoping to add to that mission with a mix of local favorites and a few other bands that you may not know yet.
"Every year, our goal is to stir up the interest in the local talent and help bands from across the region create a buzz," Bridwell said. "This way, the talent improves each year and the audience doesn't have to expect the same old thing."
The setup of this year's event will be familiar to those who attended last year's Summer Session. Doors will open at 5 p.m. for the two-day event, set for June 3–4. Bands will alternate concerts on two stages from 8 p.m. until the end of the night.
"The different sub-genres make these bands very hard to classify, but the plan is to bring something for everyone,” Bridwell said. “I think we did that with the bands we've lined up for this event."
Here's a look at the bands you can expect to see take the stage at Summer Session 2016.
The Band Piano. is a group you should definitely know if you're a local to Statesboro. The trio hasn't been around long, but they have made an impact with their hard-hitting blues riffs and rock-and-roll style with just a sprinkle of punk. The group started out as a collaboration of artists from three different bands. They're rising fast after their 2015 release, "Sick Bones." They've been touring and collaborating on new and upcoming projects, but they keep a close relationship to the Statesboro area where they started. They are the sole band returning to the event after making their debut in last year’s Summer Sessions. Drummer Scott Underwood says the ensemble grows stronger with every show.
The Vegabonds have been to Statesboro a few times before, and the band is returning with their Allman Brothers-inspired, indie-rock sound. The band from Nashville has spent most of their time touring internationally, garnering quite a following overseas.
Lead singer Daniel Allen said that the band was surprised at how well their southern rock was embraced abroad, but that "Europe has become like (their) second home."
The band has all the country influence you would expect from a Nashville band, with Allen's soulful voice and a jam session in most songs that any Lynyrd Skynyrd fan would love. If for no other reason, see this band for their great beards and long locks. There is no shortage of hair in this band!
Adding Statesboro to their constant road trip is The High Divers, who are based out of Charleston, South Carolina. This is highly acclaimed Southern rock quartet brings an upbeat quality to their indie sound. Not only were they named the top up-and-coming band of 2015 by The Blue Indian of South Carolina, but they also have been named one of the Top 5 bands by the South Carolina Music Guide. A few inspirations of the band include Neil Young and Wilco. Still, don't confuse their upbeat tone as an inability to rock. With songs like "Give it Up," they show that they can rock as hard as any.
Bringing their take on blues-rock to the stage this year is Stop Light Observations. Don't confuse "new to Statesboro" with “new”: This band has been on the move steadily since forming as middle-schoolers in Charleston. Since their debut album, “Radiation” (2013), the band has hit the road and has even taken the stage at Bonnaroo. In only three years, the band has toured across the country, seen record deals on the table, nearly broken up, retreated to radio silence and returned to the stage, writing about the experiences all along the way.
The band's pianist and songwriter, John Keith Culbreth, uses the ups and downs as inspiration.
"It is a part of our job as writers to tell and share the stories of our experiences with the audience," he said, "and that's what we do in our music."
Currently in the middle of an East Coast tour, this band based out of Annapolis, Maryland, is bringing their brand of jam-rock to Summer Session. With trusty harmonica in hand, lead vocalist Jay Hurtt and Little Bird bring a unique talent. Promoter Will Bridwell describes them as "a fun mix of upbeat music that the Statesboro crown would really enjoy."
Little Bird is just over a year away from their very first full album release, and they have been on the road steadily since. If any statement could narrow their sound down, it would be "solos galore." The four-man group has many long jam sessions within their danceable music, including guitar solos, rhythm guitar riffs and even spots for the harmonica to shine.
Bringing what they call "metamorphic rock" to the table, Universal Sigh can definitely be considered a "sub-genre." Their sound is a mixture of jam, rock, electronic and funk all mixed into one jam session. The foursome out of Athens focus heavily on improvisation, guaranteeing a different spin at every show. You can expect never to hear the same show twice from this group anchored by upbeat, rhythmic drums and a dual-guitar attack.
As they just released their debut album only weeks ago, you should expect their energy and excitement to carry over into Summer Sessions as Universal Sigh brings their multi-genre fusion to the festival for the first time.