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GIG REVIEW: SAVAGES 2/05/2013

 

Savages are four girls,3 girls from London and French singer (real named Camille Berthomier, listen to the spoken word intro on new song and album opener ‘Shut Up’ for the accent.) Savages are four girls who make fucking amazing music, screaming, bass, guitar, drums post punk assault on even the 6th sense and further. The writer first heard the name after the release of double A single ‘Flying to Berlin/Husbands’, the former a scuzzy guitar, bass heavy, double snare drum, ode to 80’s Goth sounding nihilism.

The latter, captivating, musically, acoustically, sonically and engaging in all that is good from Savages. And later, whilst in a neon, alien scrawled deserted warehouse on the outskirts of the centre of Austin, Texas, one night, seeing the band live for the first time alongside the company of messers DIIV, catching quite possibly the most surprising and fucking fist in the air ,tight as fuck live show over the whole of SXSW. They did not seem happy to be out there, but then again, do they ever seem happy, or in illusion? These girls mean business. Entrancing only begins to describe frontwoman Jenny Beth’s demeanour and whole fucking idea, if one only lurks a little under the surface……

Tonight, Savages play at the Warehouse, nearing on the impossible in shining a light away from the reflections of the godly disco ball that hangs in the Barrowland Ballroom the other side of Glasgow. And after being present 2 days prior, dried blood still being mopped from the floor, walls, ceiling after Death Grips devastated the venue, its seems in accordance that Savages would come to finish off proceedings. A Vox and a Bass sit waiting on stage, with a wiry old computer and two mics for the opening act Johnny Hostile. Wiry and gaunt, Mr Hostile appears on stage to open for the London quartet. Looking like Bradford Cox but dripping with sexual intent/desire, sinister intentions, a sample heavy, neurotic howl surrounds the earlier escapists from the constant deluge outside. It seems they could never pick bleaker surroundings. Gripping the bass like a heavy sword, military charging to each side, this experimental, lo fi, snarling post punk shoegaze was wholly captivating, at some times though lacking in a full band set up which would surely push his idea to a whole new level. Not even a fucked up computer to slow proceedings at the tail end of the performance served as a hinder, with Savages watching from the side, a commanding entrée to warm up the rain scalded Glasgow army. His sexual sneer begged the question of who is this Mr Hostile??? Johnny Hostile?? Is the choice of name, or birth of name, one could ask? Johnny Halliday? At the end of the set, a dulcet, ‘enjoy fucking Savages’ in a French accent confirmed our question. Is he and Jenny fucking?? The answer to this of course is yes and not just fucking, but making sweet music (pardon the double entendre) together for some time. Indeed, Johnny and Jen, make incredible music, far removed from the dark, icy, angular tones cut into our wanting bodies tonight, more a la Serge Gainsbourg, Jane Birkin persuasion, not categorising the French swooning, Jen looking unrecognisable in her long bowl top 60’s haircut, releasing two records in years previous. Moving to London, it seems, and meeting some of soon to be Savages, seemed to open them up musically, and starting the Pop Noire Record Label, self-releasing (in the immediate future) Savages first record ‘Silence Yourself’ we will be hearing a whole lot more….

To the headlining act, dressed in black, sans Jenny Beth in a white garment, early strobing provides us with a warning. Franz Ferdinand stand alongside in the crowd, in anticipation, they surely know a good act when they see one. It is impossible to focus one’s eyes away from lead singer and charisma Beth as her steely, ill mannered, fuck you glances and attitude resonate to the very back. Like being told seconds previously side stage of ovary problems, or she had ‘one more song’ she delivers, she screams, she howls, she pains, she pauses, she fist pumps, she sings, she carries, she hangs a note allowing others in the group to come in and take it over. The drummer bouncing so high and hitting it so hard as to nearly caving the roof in, it seems an alarming fire would not stop not even a drum beat.Like a samurai girl, luckily with sticks and not throwing knives. These four girls know how to play, and play they do, ever changing from a quick drum beat, to a stab of guitar, all brought on by further rhythmic assaults of pounding bass, Beth acting like a ten woman anxiety attack, a frenzied one note (of intent) conductor of German Industrialist cacophony who looks like she last slept with the fall of the Berlin Wall.
Airing, more like siren blasting noise punk of songs including, ‘City’s Full’, a fuck you to the London scene girls that populate/pollute their every day, the emblemic ‘I am Here’ andrecord opener and raison d’etre Shut Up’ early in the set, a jugular one two three, even a new song is brought out ‘Waiting for a Sign’ among others. A lot can be said about the persona, the stance, on the complimentary, the refreshing, the influences so noted, but although adding to, this band make fucking good music, and are a fucking amazing live band to the full. Thus, being fully transmitted to the brethren, arms and bodies flailing and soaking the music up like ether laced cloth. No talking, no pausing, one song stops, a slight pause, a raised fist, and the womanschaft continues. ‘Hello Glasgae’ in a wry, calculated manner serving to highlight their surroundings. They are cold in the only way they could be, an ice bath curing to aching, bloodied limbs in every context, ‘Give me a Gun’ sounds all too real, single ‘She Will’ picking up the pace for the finale, and set closer ‘Husbands’ demonic panting and head shaking defiance, the evil bastard child of Dave Gahan/Curtis/ Sioux name your idol screams into the night. Fuck me. They came, they saw, they savaged us.

10/10

WRITTEN BY
Mike Williams