Photos By Katherine Gaines, Review By Matthew Anderson
Savages are a band ideally suited to a dark, crowded room on a hot night. Their music is a physical alarm clock alerting you it’s time to wake up and tune in again – stuff that makes you sweat and digs at you when played at the proper volume, which is very, very loud. Savages don’t intend to uncover any specific feeling within you. They simply provide the shovel you’ve been missing to kick start your digging. Clad in all black (with the exception of lead singer Jehnny Beth’s ass-kicking yellow heels), the band launched into album highlight “I Am Here” with all the raw, base power their name implies.
They unleashed tracks from their debut album “Silence Yourself” with such sustained force it felt like cannon fire rocking the walls of the 9:30 club. The band’s leader, Jehnny Beth sliced through the heavily distorted guitar and hammer-head bass with the precision of a guillotine, her eyes wide with a persistent mesmerizing glare.
Standout single “She Will” goes down as one of my top live performances of the year, following a spellbinding spoken word segment from Beth, guitarist Gemma Thompson nails the delivery, plucking the resonant intro riff leading into the chainsaw-revving chorus. The set came to a close with the band laying into a hypnotic reverberating grove with Beth’s final words ringing: Don’t let the fuckers get you down. They returned to the stage briefly for an encore performance, and live premier of sinewy album closer “Marshall Dear” featuring a clarinet solo from opener Duke Garwood.
This is their second trip to DC this year. The band played the Rock and Roll Hotel earlier this summer. This morning they were announced as finalists for the Britain’s Mercury Prize given annually to the best British album of the past year.