Savages live in London
- By Jack Preston -
- Jun 01, 2012
One of, if not the, most exciting thing to happen to the London music scene in 2012 has been the rise of Savages. The four-piece, all female band - fronted by the steely Jehnny Beth - have put in a string of exceptional performances throughout the last few months, resulting in a rapidly expanding following.
By choosing to only release their first recording last week, the ballsy ‘Husbands’, they have given themselves the chance to build a strong reputation as a live band, something guitarist Gemma Thompson was keen to point out when recently speaking to Pitchfork: “We knew from the first rehearsals that we wanted the live performance to be integral, and that everything would come together because of the physical impact. We felt like nothing was finished until our first show. Even if the songs were kind of finished in a sense, they weren't finished until they were performed.”
The physical impact of their performance, that Thompson refers to, is an all engulfing one. Their songs are driven forward by a pounding series of bass lines, as Beth’s shrieks grab the listener by the scruff of the neck and force their attention.
While the band’s appearance at Dalston’s Shacklewell Arms wasn’t quite on par, in terms of sheer noise at least, with their recent show at London’s XOYO it certainly didn’t lack any bite. “It’s so hot in here, is anyone else fucking hot?” Questioned Beth. The crowded back room of the East London pub failed to mutter a response in the stifling conditions, however the beads of sweat coating unbuttoned chests spoke for themselves.
New releases Husbands and ‘Flying to Berlin’ were given joyfully forceful outings in a tight opening to the set. Although it wasn’t until later on that Thompson was able take a more prominent role in proceedings, with Savages seemingly at their best when the distortion emanating from her Fender is allowed to wreak havoc - the stormy 'Wating For A Sign' being a perfect example of this.
With such hype surrounding Savages it’s clear that pressure must be mounting on their shoulders, however the look of contempt sported mid-song by Beth was there from the very start. A sense of grit and intent has always been more than an undercurrent in this band, making you feel as though they are not ones to be knocked off their stride.
The same however could not be said for the crowd, with new song ‘No Face’ getting its first ever public outing and blowing away the front row in the process. Before long it had clicked into fan favourite ‘City’s Full’, ensuring a steady movement of sweaty fringes.
To refer to such a new song from such a young band as a ‘fan favourite’ would feel a little churlish, were it not for strength of the live video in which it featured and the excitement it caused at the start of the year. As for signs of an album emerging, we’ll have to wait, with Beth issuing a call for patience on the band’s appearance on BBC 6 music this week.
A reason to be thankful for all concerned, the studio is no place for the most thrilling live band in the country to spend the summer.