Savages are one of the most exciting contemporary post-punk bands knocking around at the moment. After a relentless tour supporting their most recent album Adore Life released earlier this year, they arrive at Brixton Academy to the biggest UK show they've put on to date. The now notorious status of their relentless energy and sexual prowess that they bring to their live performances is solidified in the immediacy and profound level of intimacy they achieve with the crowd.
They grace the stage in black with a backdrop of white beams of light; it's so simplistic yet feels weighted down in meaning. As distortion builds around a slow drumbeat, Jenny Beth, the lead singer, takes to the stage with her slicked back short black hair dressed in a blazer, a black lingerie bra, suit trousers and blood red high heels. Her eyes stare down the waves of people cheering her arrival, intimidating every individual who manage to lock her gaze even for a second before roaring into I Am Here from their debut album Silence Yourself. "The world is with me/And you're coming for the ride." There's no denying that their fans are already there with the band as a handful are thrown over the barrier, drenched in sweat before the first song is even over.
Savages have the wonderful advantage of their music having a beautiful sense of communion in their lyrics; whether they're exploring the struggles of anxiety of expressing emotion, loneliness, love, sex or anger. The sense of unity and humanity in the audience is palpable as Jenny guides them and urges them into circle pits with a nonchalant flick of her wrist. This is post-punk at its most cathartic and is channelled emotive rage as opposed to the nihilist influences of the bands that Savages wear so closely to their heart. At every other moment, Jenny wonders into the crowd and walks amongst their hands, gracefully gliding over as the crowd reach up towards her. It's an incredibly powerful image, one that combines the power of the individual with the force that carries and encourages them.
Continue reading: Savages - Brixton Academy 25.11.2016 Live Review
Savages arrived with Silence Yourself in 2013 and with that one of the most critically acclaimed debut albums of the year. It was concise and professional in its scope, presentation and manifesto which translated well into their now infamous live shows. They're post-punk aesthetic and urgency, however electric it came across, seemed to imply that Savages may have been one of those bands which would become obsolete and soon forgotten due to a genre which unfortunately appears dated in public consciousness. Their closely kept influences such as Joy Division, PJ Harvey, Faust, The Cure and most obviously Siouxsie and the Banshees also bringing in the risk of being taken less seriously as a band in their own right. And in contrast to that, their manifesto was something that although bold and brave for a newly noteworthy band, had the potential to place them as a group who took themselves way too seriously for their own good.
Adore Life sees Savages separating themselves from their initial political ideology to some extent and also as an attempt to distinguish themselves from their major influences, two attributes which could have easily led them into self-parody. Jehnny Beth (formerly known as Camille Berthomier) decides on this album to explore love and life with relentless grandiose. Savages remain as uncompromising as they have ever been, however with their latest album there is a soulfulness within the madness and obsessive nature of love and the nature of insanity, which ultimately results in a celebratory record of solidarity for those within this struggle.
Album opener 'The Answer' instantly makes you ponder how punk ever declined in popularity. The serrated guitars, the flailing percussion and soaring vocals of possessiveness and desire combine together to create an onslaught of desire and fiery passion. 'If you don't love me/Don't love anybody' Beth croons, showing that exploring love musically doesn't have to be whitewashed and cliched. Within 'Adore Life' it's restless and powerful, it's primal.
Continue reading: Savages - Adore Life Album Review
The self described voice of "urgent" and "reflective" music in the UK and Ireland has once again picked a predictable shortlist of albums for the once prestigious award
The Barclaycard Mercury Music Prize this week announce the shortlist for it's 12 favourite albums of the last 12 months, albums that it claims are "urgent" and are "reflective" of the evolving sound of contemporary music. Once a haven for alternative acts like Portishead and Gomez, this years awards once again have gone for the most obvious choices and rather than celebrate any "urgent" talent, artists that routinely play on the radio or television have been picked ahead of the Hookworms and Darkstars of the British and Irish music scene.
The Arctic Monkeys are hardly an "urgent" band
The Arctic Monkeys are now a bonafied rock staple, whilst Foals and Laura Marling have each been nominated in the past and are regularly given air time on 6 Music or Jools Holland, etc., not to mention the fact that Marling has been handed a BRIT Award too. As for newcomers Disclosure, Rudimental and Jake Bugg, neither are exactly challenging their respective fields of house, drum and bass and rockabilly, but simply making it more radio-friendly and pop accessible. This isn't a dig either, this is something that all three artists should openly agree with. As for David Bowie; he's David Bowie. Need we say more?
Continue reading: Mercury Prize Shortlist Announced, But Does It Even Matter Anymore?
With Field Day 2013 less than two weeks away, now seems like a good time to look at the 5 must-see bands of the festival.
After the success of the festival last year it was difficult to see how it could possibly be improved. As the line up announcements filtered through from Field Day HQ, it became clear just how special this year is going to be. A quite astonishing array of artists all playing in one field, on one day - what could possibly go wrong? Clashes, of course. The chances of you catching every artist you intended on seeing are slim, so here are the 5 must-see acts this year.
Arguably the most exciting band of 2013. Renowned for their extraordinary live performances, as demonstrated on Jools Holland a few months ago, Savages are one band you will not want to miss this summer. With their debut album having come out a few weeks ago, now's the time to catch them live. It will be an "I was there" moment.
Continue reading: Field Day 2013 - Preview
Today saw the announcement of the Coachella Festival 2013 line-up, to be run on the weekends of April 12, 2013 and April 19, 2013, and as expected it’s another smorgasbord of musical taste, with everyone from Britpop veterans Blur to funk rockers Red Hot Chili Peppers turning out for the California event. The sheer array of names is dizzying – just where do you start with deciding who to go and see? Well handily we’ve had a bit of a browse through the line-up for you, so here are a few of our tips.
Pick Of The Headliners
Continue reading: Coachella Festival 2013; Who To See?
Brace yourselves music fans: with the BBC Sound of 2013 list now well on the way to being counted down, and a whole host of names, from the established print press to online sites and the smallest of blogs, having their own say, you’re about to be bombarded with a gluttony of new music to listen out for, to and read about. Will they all be as amazing as their respective champions claim they are? Most likely not, but part of the, uh, ‘fun’ of wading through the endless tips of the year is discovering a song or an artist that - though you’d never heard it before – will go on to provide a soundtrack for, perhaps, the rest of your life.
Here at Contactmusic we’ve attempted to pick out a mix of the names you’ll be seeing in bright lights everywhere else, interspersed with a couple of our own personal favourites who we're keeping a personal eye on over the forthcoming months...
Blogger's Delight - The names that will be everywhere
Continue reading: Keeping In Contact: Our Favourite Music Tips For 2013