Sunday 14 October 2012

Savages at Electrowerkz - 11 October 2012


Here I am back in the claustrophobic metal tin that is Electrowerkz. I wouldn’t say that we are packed nose to tail, but I saw a couple of sardines outside gasping for air.

The lights are down and Savages are onstage. They are deliberately androgynous and business-like. They let their music do the talking.

As I watch may be the best headlining set that I have come across this year, I’m struck by two things...

...I had noticed that the audience is generally older than I would have expected for what is essentially a new, up and coming band. Ok, Savages are fronted by Jehnny Beth who was previously part of well regarded duo John and Jehn, but that is not it.

What is intriguing is the band’s overall sound. I’ve heard them compared to Siouxsie and the Banshees, but I find that this description is too broad and not helpful. To my ears, Savages are originating from the absolute focal point that is Echo and The Bunnymen’s second album, Heaven Up Here. That’s incredible enough. What’s even more incredible is that Savages take this sound and improve upon it.

Jehnny Beth employs all the vocal tricks of Ian McCulloch while the rest of the band are tight and fast and streamlined. Everything is finely honed and spare, nothing wasted...

...which brings me to my second great Savages epiphany. What makes this band stand out from the herd is their brevity. The very vast majority of Savages songs clock in at three minutes or less. That seems incredibly unusual these days.

The songs aren’t played at breakneck speed. They are perfect, precise and short. In an age when many bands have a tendency to maunder on and rely on band and audience finding a mutually satisfactory groove, Savages’ conciseness and discipline seems all the more impressive.

This set is barely over the half an hour mark, but is concentrated and nourishing. Both sides of their single, ‘Flying To Berlin’ and ‘Husbands’ get an airing. There is a buzz about the band that is growing and is clearly merited. No filler here, all muscle.

Consider me Savaged.

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