Last year’s Concert for Conservation was a resounding hit.
The Train Wrecks paid tribute to Tom Petty with a number of Savannah’s most talented musicians joining in, performing to over 350 people at a packed Southbound Brewing Co.
This year, The Hypnotics, purveyors of early rock ’n’ roll, will undoubtedly bring down the house as they pay tribute to The Rolling Stones with the help of a top-shelf list of Savannah musicians.
The fundraiser is the second tribute show thrown by the Georgia affiliate of the Coastal Conservation Association, a national nonprofit. The CCA promotes, conserves and enhances the present and future availability of our coastal marine resources for the benefit and enjoyment of the general public, according to an official statement. The CAA initiates scientific studies, funds marine science scholarships, builds artificial reefs and more along the Georgia coastline.
Over the last five years, The Hypnotics have honed a particular rock ’n’ roll sound built around early '50s and '60s rock and pop, early garage rock, soul and early '90s grunge. The Beatles have been the most obvious and heavy influence.
One of Savannah’s absolute most fun live bands, during a regular set, The Hypnotics might hit you with a deep cut from the Rolling Stones before shifting to a Sam Cooke number, a Beach Boys tune and then sneaking in an original cut.
“They looked at music a different way back then, in a simpler way,” guitarist Ty Thompson said. “It was more geared toward energy and fun. It was a shared experience. It was all geared toward, how do we push this energy more?”
“It’s been fun to add a bunch of Stones songs,” added bassist Ryan Sylvester. “I’ve heard these songs all of my life and now we’re playing them and learning a bunch of new Stones songs. It’s a totally different ballgame.”
While The Hypnotics will handle the lion’s share of the setlist for the night, they’ll be joined by a host of other fantastic Savannah musicians for renditions of all the hits and a number of other songs; a total of 30 or so.
The great Trae Gurley will sing with the group, as will CC Witt, Anna Chandler (COEDS, Nancy Druid), and Chelsea Johnson. Phillip Reynolds Price (COEDS, An Albatross), Savannah’s true rock star, will join on keys, while legendary GAM and Superhorse guitarist Kevin Rose will shred on some tunes as well.
“Chelsea is a tragically unknown singer,” Thompson said. “One of the most talented voices of anyone I know. Trae got up and sang a Sam Cooke song with us a few months ago. I’ve been wanting to get up with that dude.”
Then there will be a special appearance from the enigmatic pop star Jhovana Aguilar, also known as Christina De La Suerte.
“That pop star is doing a song with us,” Sylvester said.
“The infamous, 1980s pop star that never was,” Thompson explained. “I think she’s a pretty outstanding up-and-coming artist. She’s from L.A. She’s just an amazing singer. Amazing performer.”
“She doesn’t speak a lot of English,” Sylvester added, tongue firmly planted in cheek.
“We’re doing a 'My Fair Lady' thing with her,” Thompson somewhat clarified. “We discovered her on dating apps.”
Two other bands joining The Hypnotics are Savannah’s Magic Rocks, who also played a killer set at the Tom Petty tribute show last year, and Florida’s Helixglow.
Helixglow, which features one of the original surviving members of For Squirrels, will also be playing another show with The Hypnotics. You can read more about that in next week’s Do Savannah.
Whether The Hypnotics are playing original tunes in a club downtown or jamming on covers at a private event, the No. 1 goal at every show is simply to have fun. With that in mind, they’ve decided to have a contest at this year’s Concert for Conservation.
“Jagger has got his moves,” Thompson said. “We’ve all seen that drunk guy at the show that tries to imitate his moves to the best of his ability. We’re trying to make it a thing. We’re going to have Savannah’s first ever Jag Off.
“Or we’re going to call it a Circle Jag,” Sylvester added with a straight face. “Why do people keep laughing at that?”
“There will prizes,” Thompson said. “Yep, for whoever Jags off the best. It could get messy. My moves aren’t particularly good, but they get the job done. Our whole thing, [Sylvester is] a fantastic musician. I am not the best, but what we try to do is have as much fun as possible.”
“Make fools of ourselves, really,” Sylvester added with a smirk.