October 11, 2012
Does anyone remember the post-punk explosion of 2005 when every second band seemed to be cribbing off each other’s influences sheets, and labels with derivative names like ‘Angular’ and ‘Artrocker’ appeared, encouraging this rising monochrome wave? It was probably the first serious resurgence of post-punk since the 80’s, but with few exceptions of real talent being shown (Bloc Party being the only real long-lasting exception).
With just the one single to their name (“Flying To Berlin”/”Husbands”), London-based quartet Savages already have the potential to be post-punk’s next generational shining light. Such accolades are easy to bestow when your band reads like a university post-punk dissertation made flesh. You could transport Savages back to 1981 and sandwich them onstage between Pigbag and Bauhaus and none would be the wiser. A couple of wags down the front would point at vocalist Jehnny Beth and mutter ‘Is that Ian Curtis’ sister?’, but lips would be clipped once Savages stirred into life.
For their first major post-hype London show, Savages have chosen the labyrinthine confines of Electrowerkz, the old goth/s&m stomping ground behind Angel station. The room is intimate, the band perhaps hesitant to be seen succumbing to expectation, skipping their dues onto larger stages by way of column inches and tv appearances. Contrary to expectation, tonight’s show is a validation of all that has been written about them and what is to follow.
Tonight, it’s a post-punk lovers feast, from Jehnny Beth’s head bowed, mic stand gripped pose a la Ian Curtis, to Gemma Thompson’s guitar riff in “Flying To Berlin” which borrows from Magazine’s “The Light Pours Out Of Me” and Gang of Four’s “Anthrax” lurking in the rhythmic assault of “I Am Here”. Even Patti Smith’s “Horses” gets twisted into the cathartic shake of “Husbands”. It’s so easy (and enjoyable) to unravel Savages threads of influence yet the fact remains they stand head and shoulders above any band to appear in 2012 thus far.
Setlist: No Face/City’s Full/Down In The Strife/I Am Here/Another War/Give Me A Gun/Waiting For A Sign/Flying To Berlin/Shut Up/Husbands