Savages are a four-piece London-based rock band.
Last night I walked into the Imperial in Vancouver, not really knowing what to expect.
I had never watched videos of their live sets, not had I heard anyone describe one to me. I went in completely blind.
The band took to the stage under a shroud of darkness.
I strained to see through the pitch black to make out what the band was doing before the set started. Jehnny Beth, the vocals of the band, was pacing back and forth like a confident prize fighter itching to jump in the ring with their opponent. Nothing had even happened yet, and she already dripped with rock-star attitude.
The set started with I Am Here off the bands 2013 debut album Silence Yourself. There was no build up to the intensity, it was immediate.
Jehnny was down on her knees before the sold out crowd howling out her gripping vocals as she stared fiercely into the night.
She was the main focus of the band, and worked the room with an effortless precision.
Gemma Thompson, on guitar, brought a touch of seriousness to the stage. She looked like her fret work was the most important thing in that room to her, and she committed to it fully. This reflected greatly in her delivery, and lined every song with a recording-session level of perfection.
Mix in the playful bass work of Ayse Hassan, and she just seemed toto juxtapose Gemma so nicely. Anytime I looked up, Ayse would have this truly genuine smile on her face. Her performance was more bouncy and flowing, though the underlying bass line was on a perfect timeline.
Fay Milton on drums carried the whole instrumental set up on her back. Each song punctuated by her rapping on those skins. She added an increased importance and drama to each song. I could barely see her face, but I definitely saw her arms. They were bashing away in an anarchic fluidity, it was hypnotic.
The night rolled on, and the band stirred the crowd into an absolute frenzy.
Full Savages set list:
I Am Here
Slowing Down the World
When in Love
I Need Something New
At a couple points Ms. Beth came down into the crowd and joined the audience for some fun.
I lost myself in the moment and joined the ensuing mosh pit, bouncing off the sweaty bodies of my fellow concert goers.
Loosening my proverbial tie, I just went wherever Jehnny lead us. She was in charge.
She walked out into the crowd, and was raised on the outstretched arms of her new minions.
The night burned feverishly, and I was left dripping in my own exhaustion.
I did not know what to expect from a Savages show, but now I do. You can expect dedication from a tightly nit group of musicians that deliver truth and humanity to the stage with everything they have. You can expect something real.
Thank you to the band for waking me up, and forcing me to remember what a true rock show can be like.
Savages are setting the bar higher then most bands even think is possible.
Other bands need to see.
Savages are rock and roll.