One week from today, Secret Stages kicks off its second year in downtown Birmingham, AL, just a couple of hours away from Atlanta via I-20. Just like last year, the lineup pulls together carefully curated bands from all over the Southeast, with a few wild cards thrown into the mix, too. This year’s big name is cultishly adored Merge institution Lambchop, an appropriate headliner for a festival that tends to feature a lot of skewed americana. Other names of note are Savannah metal trio Black Tusk, Florida electro-poppers Sunbears!, Memphis rapper Cities Aviv, and warped noise rockers Dope Body from Baltimore.
The rest of the lineup is all over the place, ranging from indie rock to punk to jazz to folk. Hip hop and the avant garde are making particularly strong showings this year, too. Atlanta will be represented by Lucy Dreams, Brainworlds, Social Studies, Arablak, Baby Baby, Bare Essentials, and Duet for Theremin and Lap Steel, a surprisingly eclectic group that should give you some idea of the breadth of the lineup.
This festival is one of my favorite regional events. Most of these bands have yet to break out of their respective local scenes, but the lineup is largely dud free. It’s a great chance to wander around and discover a bunch of new music. And it’s cheap. Weekend passes will only set you back $25, and for $60 you can go VIP, which includes free food and drinks. Definitely worth the trip to Birmingham.
Check out the full lineup after the jump.