Marta Owczarek sees this Mercury-nominated act live and finds a performance that is full of conviction, with no hesitation and no second-guessing.
Savages have been hyped for over a year now, with a line of sold out shows and the super anticipated full-length Silence Yourself, which is getting plenty of appreciation from London record shops (number one at Sister Ray and number two at Rough Trade). The Mercury Prize critics didn’t go with this, but someone clearly did and booked Savages to play The Kentish Town Forum, their biggest show to date. If this is a band who has never played to an audience this big before, they’re either lying or naturals. Their confidence shines brighter than the lights, and those are really something else too.
The Forum is absolutely packed from the very beginning and, for whatever reason, all those guestlisted are sent straight up to the balcony, so crowdsurfing opportunities are extremely limited — jumping off wouldn’t be too bad, height-wise, but not very wise in general as the mixing desk is immediately below. Still, from that elevated perspective, the venue looks particularly huge and theatre-like, with some vaguely Ancient Greek ornamentation. There’s never a big venue gig without technical issues but, here, those are limited to the support slot of A Dead Forest Index, which is unfortunately the opposite of spot-on. But once Savages are on stage, everything goes dark, then light and then awesome…
Jehnny Beth stands astride onstage at The Forum, with her left leg slightly raised, holding up the microphone in her right hand. She wears a long-sleeved white top with black baggy trousers and looks down, with a serious expression, over her right shoulder. The stage is filled with dry ice smoke, giving a grey wash to the background. By Paul Hudson, shared under a Creative Commons License.