Everybody loves themselves a good buzz band, and this past year has seen a hell of a lot of new bands burst on the scene with no shortage of “buzz.” But what about those bands that deserve the buzz, though for whatever reason, they can’t get the same level of buzz as some of those less deserving? That’s where Lockeland comes in handy (hopefully), to argue in favor of bands that demand (and deserve) your musical attention. One band of such ilk is none other than Nashville’s own 70s jungle psych outfit, Savoy Motel.
The jungle psychedelic four-piece played support to The Mystery Lights’ Exit/In show on 8/10, and no offense to the headliner, but Savoy Motel claimed the night with their slick licks and fret board precision mixed with loose pocket percussion from Jessice McFarland that would bring Meg White to tears. With lighting whizzes Silver Dollar Cinema providing some special looks for their set, Savoy Motel’s set created a sense of falling down the trap door of some ancient Mayan ruin, and having your landing cushioned by a bed of mushrooms – the psychedelic kind, naturally – ultimately making you care less about escaping and more about exploring your surroundings further.
Upon one’s initial listen to a Savoy Motel recording, you might feel inclined to try and throw them into the whole “jangly 70s rock” that appears to be en vogue at the moment – think buzz band extraordinaires Whitney. The band could probably be compared to Whitney, as Jeffrey Novak’s occasional falsetto sounds reminiscent of Whitney’s Julian Ehrlich, but that wouldn’t be fair. A more just comparison would be if Whitney is the star student everyone adores, Savoy Motel is the chain-smoking fifth year senior everyone secretly wishes they had the confidence to be. Savoy Motel’s live musicality is truly exceptional, with guitar man Dillon Watson (long live D. Watusi) absolutely shredding with the most deft of precision while rhythm and vox lead Mimi Galbierz pulled double duty.
The band ran through songs new and old, opening their set with the guitar driven “Hot One,” “Souvenir Shop Rock,” and “In One Year and Out the Other,” and crushing every single song. “In One Year and Out the Other” had a loosey-goosey drum breakdown that helped created the sense of otherworldly jungle appeal, before jumping into something with a little more fantasmic with “Wester Fusion Boogie.” After keeping the set quick and chippy, Savoy Motel slowed it down with “American Holiday,” a track that featured a sample/metronome beat that sounded eerily similar to “Hotline Bling,” which only heightened the experience.
In short, Savoy Motel is precisely what a buzz band is not – effortlessly cool. They’ve only just begun to burst onto the scene, and are primed to win hearts and steal minds as they take to the road with Dandy Warhols this upcoming Fall, and if their Exit/In show on 8/10 was any indication, its going to be damn good trip.