Albert Hall, Manchester
My entry point to Savages was the excellent Flying to Berlin/Husbands single. I was a bit underwhelmed by the debut LP but they are an unmissable live act (even if my previous gig was a bit marred by technical issues and a bit of aggro caused by some prick stealing some stuff from the Merch stand). The new LP ‘Adore Life’ I think is splendid and captures their live ferocity while adding some much needed space/light & shade missing from the debut so I was looking forward to this one.
Support comes from Japan’s Bo Ningen -who I think I’ve seen before but they have stepped up a gear and they are excellent, a sort of poppier version of The Boredoms – guitars are hurled around, shapes are thrown, amps are climbed upon and a joyous noise is made- they go down a storm.
As soon as Savages take to the stage I’m struck by how the band seem more at home in this larger venue – although the music is quite punky and thrashy at heart (anchored down by superb rhythm section of Ayse Hassan and Fay Milton) there is something about Gemma Thompson’s guitar playing that benefits from this big old hall to echo and feed back into. Jenny Beth is also that rare thing in these days of cost-cuttting multi tasking bands – a proper lead singer who sings, dances, walks out into the crowd, throws shapes and keeps the vibe going with no guitar or bank of keyboards to distract her. It’s an intense and powerful performance.
The obvious reference points are PiL, The Banshees, Wire and Joy Division but given the turbocharge of younger ears that have also heard Nirvana, thrash metal, hip hop and lord knows what else so it really only sounds like Savages. Highlights are ‘Surrender’ (which reminds me of something by The Sound), ‘The Answer’ – with it’s scything guitar chords and great big blocks of noise and the penultimate, slow burning ‘Adore’ which leads into the finale of ‘Fuckers’.
The band have what you might call ‘crossover appeal’ -Cool looking girls and boys who could quite easily blag their way backstage by passing themselves off as close relatives, and possibly former members of Savages, earnest looking student types, a bit of a moshpit down the front who have already learned the words to the new songs, the slightly more mature 6 Music crowd and some dapper looking post-punk veterans. I like these people.
It made me think..
They’re fucking ace. Go and see them.