CMJ 2013: SAVAGES


Savages, London’s all-girl, post-punk quartet, doesn’t do anything halfway. Their debut album Silence Yourself, released last May, is a fiery rage of no-holds-barred directives. They sing about sexual liberation, violent desires, and battling the staleness of domesticity with uncompromising, utter sincerity. The music, a mix of metal-influenced hits and post-punk desolation, is brutal, bass-driven. They order (not request) the audience to turn off their phones and engage in their live shows. And oh do they engage.

Wednesday night at Terminal 5, the band played the last show of their TK month US tour to a sold-out room of teens, twenty-something obsessives and aging rockers (read: lots of heavily pierced members of the baby boomer generation—the Savages appeal extends beyond the millennial). The performance was ruthlessly intense, with lead singer Jehnny Beth shrieking, shaking and flailing across the stage as she delivered “Marshall Dear,” “Waiting For a Sign,” and “some more sad songs” to the beat of Fay Milton’s racing drum.

Near the end of the show, Jehnny Beth walked out into the audience and in a grave, prophetic tone suggested, “This is our last show in the US for a very long time. So let’s make it a party.” She then launched into “Hit Me,” sinking into the crowd and surfing a growing mosh pit with a sly grin.

“Fuckers” closed out the set. “When you’re starting to think you’re crazy, when you think something’s wrong with you, when you’re starting to think you should change who your are, look around and make sure you aren’t surrounded by cunts,” said Beth as the base plodded. It was a high-energy show for a notoriously stale venue. A party indeed.

View more CMJ coverage of Willis Earl Beal, Kelela, and Eleanor Friedberger.

Ashley Simpson writes about art, culture, and fashion for Interview, V, Style.com, and W. She grew up in Hawaii and the South and is currently based in Brooklyn.

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