This was a gig I’d been looking forward to from the moment I saw it announced, especially as I had inexplicably missed their NAC gig in 2013, the outstanding Savages at the Nick Rayns’ LCR at UEA. I’m not a big fan of the impersonal LCR and consequently don’t visit often but dammit, when I do the gigs here are often blinders. From the moment I first heard Savages I have been a big fan of them, a powerful line-up with outstanding drumming, guitar and bass work, and one of the most charismatic front persons in a band I have ever seen. Step forward and jump into the crowd Jehnny Beth. Geniunely exciting and compelling they felt like the embodiment of the band I realised I had been waiting for. Check out their brilliant Fuckers.
Coming onstage to Leonard Cohen’s Recitation / A Thousand Kisses Deep was a nice touch and there was a real sense of excitement and anticipation as they were greeted. Prowling the stage in an intense manner I could imagine from Trinity from The Matrix, engaging with the crowd and whipping the audience into a frenzy Jehnny Beth is just astonishing and the whole band provide a fantastic sensory onslaught. They make me think of The Matrix in a few ways actually, they’re like a musical resistance, underground movement. Awakened and enlightened to the truth, fighting for a better way of freedom and positivity. They lead the way and offer the red pill and they Adore Life.
On a short tour of just two dates we were lucky to have them in Norwich but the LCR was inexplicably far from full, the gig clashing with The Damned at The Waterfront for Punk in the East, though I am not sure how much effect that would have had, it was however much more comfortable for enjoying the gig and there was a bouncing, enthusiastic throng at the front, the audience was quality over quantity and as soon as the band struck up it felt full and, for the UEA, surprisingly intimate and that’s down to their charisma. Initially finding us typically a little quiet everyone soon loosened up and Jehnny Beth later remarked “You’re not really so shy after all!” – there was a lot of mutual love and a tremendous connection between band and audience and we were even treated to a Marianne Faithfull cover (Why D’Ya Do It?), as “something special for you”.
I think they played for over an hour and a half but I had lost all sense of time, the set seemed to exist outside the realm of time, it was so immersive and compelling, several times Jehnny Beth jumped into the crowd and was carried along as she sang. The rest of the band too are captivating to watch and an absolute powerhouse. It’s hard to imagine that there can be many better live bands on the planet than Savages at the moment. There have been many outstanding gigs I have seen this year but I think this one is destined to be remembered as one of the best and most memorable I have ever been to. They play brilliant music and deliver it in a way which is very, very exciting and they made me feel really young. There was a palpable buzz after the gig and we all knew we’d seen something extremely special. I cannot recommend Savages highly enough, a band with presence, intensity, dramatic live gigs and the songs and musicianship to back it all up, they just have no weakness. The singer is outstanding, the drummer tremendous, the guitarist fantastic and the bassist brilliant. The whole sum of these parts is something quite extraordinary. Girls leading the way again.
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