sometimes, music slaps you in the face with a certain kind of exhilarating rage that knocks you out without warning. the emotion is so intensely violent that it’s almost impossible to put words on it.
when the first notes of Savages‘ music pierced the frog’s ears at last Berlin Festival, its brain and body responded with an excitation level close to the upper level of the Richter scale.
the stage introduces four ladies dressed in black in the company of a basic rock set comprising an electric guitar (Gemma Thompson), a bass (Ayse Hassan) and drums (Fay Milton). and right at the front, Jehnny Beth (vocals) paces the stage up and down, addresses the audience straight in the eye – dispensing her words under the form of a manifesto with the same artefacts a priest would use in his sunday sermon. an intensity, earnestness and intelligence emanate from the lyrics which are, alas, almost impossible to apprehend due to the second-class sound of the Pitchfork stage. the way Jehnny Beth yelps and articulates shows clearly she has a message to deliver, as the band’s website gives it to understand a bit later:
SAVAGES’ INTENTION IS TO CREATE A SOUND, INDESTRUCTIBLE, MUSICALLY SOLID, WRITTEN FOR THE STAGE AND DESIGNED WITH ENOUGH NUANCES TO PROVIDE A WIDE RANGE OF EMOTIONS. SAVAGES ARE A SELF-AFFIRMING VOICE TO HELP EXPERIENCE OUR GIRLFRIENDS DIFFERENTLY, OUR HUSBANDS, OUR JOBS, OUR EROTIC LIFE, AND THE PLACE MUSIC OCCUPIES INTO OUR LIVES. SAVAGES’ SONGS AIM TO REMIND US THAT HUMAN BEINGS HAVEN’T EVOLVED SO MUCH, THAT MUSIC CAN STILL BE STRAIGHT TO THE POINT, EFFICIENT AND EXCITING.
meaningful and critical, Savages’ lyrics make Jehnny Beth’s (impressive) presence impossible to miss. but those very words couldn’t show their worth without the stunning support of the three other band’s members. any anurans able to enjoy post-punk will for sure experience a brisk addiction to Gemma Thompson’s distorted guitar, which conveys some frantic fury and striking brutality. whereas Jassan’s bass and Milton’s drums prepare a peerless ground for most of the feverish pieces, Thompson’s guitar discharges rage-smouldering sounds along with , which answer perfectly, sublimate and sometimes overtake, Beth’s interpretation. but this isn’t a simple rage demonstration, this is a proper cantilever providing Savages with blooming jolts and burning heartbeats.
Savages’ music doesn’t show off, it’s raw and gut-wrenching. it’s hard to believe that the band has just released their very first album Silence Yourself this year. they appear (and mean) to be an accomplished and self-confident band. during the 1-hour gig, they hardly have time to take a gulp of air, even though Beth addresses the audience once again before the final song, showing suddenly a less serious and dramatic face. fantastic, this is just fantastic.
this first gig was a tremendous experience, and i just wish you the very same killing escapade very soon. give it a try right now, with this (again) great KEXP session.