The new venue Victory North debuted in grand style last week with an excellent show headlined by Little Tybee.
Across nearly a decade, I’ve seen Little Tybee at a variety of venues in Savannah and even once in Athens, but I had never seen them in a room of the scale and quality of Victory North.
Little Tybee seemed to feed off the energy of the crowd, which numbered a few hundred, and played with a joyful spontaneity. The band tossed in a couple of fun covers and was joined on stage occasionally by guitarist Rotem Sivan, who will be touring with the band from June 26 to July 6.
In part because of the instrumentations are so subtle and complex, Little Tybee can be difficult to mix, especially if the band is playing a room that was not designed for live music.
But everything was just right in the mix at Victory North – Brock Scott’s vocals, Nirvana Scott’s violin, Josh Martin’s guitar, everything.
Jezebel Heart, Savannah-based singer/songwriter Britt Scott who was accompanied by Susanna Kennedy on vocals and fiddle, sounded great too in their relatively short opening set, and so did Wood and Steel, whose strong set got the crowd moving and primed for the headliner.
And all the bands started on time. That might be a ho-hum detail in many cities, but I have sometimes seen headliners take the stage after 1 a.m. at club shows in Savannah. Many Savannahians would support live music more regularly if bands started earlier and shows were finished before midnight.
Local residents also seem excited that they can attend shows at Victory North without having to contend with downtown parking, traffic and tourists.
Victory North has some limited off-street parking, but most of the attendees at the premiere show found on-street parking, used ride-sharing services or walked from nearby neighborhoods.
The high-speed traffic on Whitaker Street needs to be controlled to ensure safety of Victory North patrons as they enter and exit, but otherwise the location seems surprisingly good.
In addition to the soaring interior, Victory North has a large, beautifully landscaped courtyard. The venue could be perfect for large weddings and other private events, but the Savannah music community is obviously hoping for many more shows like opening night.
Wood and Steel summed up the buoyant mood of the crowd in a Facebook post on Saturday: “Let’s do our part as a music-loving community to keep this place healthy and thriving for years to come!”
You can read elsewhere here in Do about this week’s cabaret featuring Roger Moss at Victory North. The venue will host more than a dozen public concerts in the upcoming months, including Drive-By Truckers, Perpetual Groove and Reverend Horton Heat.
Do Savannah Editor Joshua Peacock will be taking a much deeper look at the changing landscape of local venues in Sunday’s newspaper.
Bill Dawers writes City Talk in Savannah Morning News and blogs at Savannah Unplugged (www.billdawers.com) and hissing lawns (www.hissinglawns.com). Email firstname.lastname@example.org.