Savages. They make me cry. I’m not one that is easily touched. Picture a chromium spike being consistently hammered with a sledgehammer the size of a telephone pole with King Kong doing the punishing using all his might. He might make a dent.
Savages are the piercing spike to my thick armor. I don’t know why. Few bands/artists touch me but when they do, it’s special.
Savages….they’re deep. And menacing. With purpose. I don’t think people who truly enjoy live music understand what it is to see a Savages show. It’s so fucking pure. Their art means something. Jehnny Beth means something. This is the rare band where every member is absolutely pivotal to not just their existence but their creative ways. There is no Savages unless all four are together. Beatles. Zeppelin. U2. Queen, Sex Pistols, The Doors, The Clash, RATM, TOOL....Hell, even ABBA! Foursomes that all feed off each and every member is irreplaceable. I will fight this point to your death.
It’s clear there is no dominant force here. They all are. Even without trying. Without a need to let ego get in the way. I’ve never seen a guitarist work like Gemma. She’s fucking amazing. Soundscapes, echo, feedback, texture. It’s all by design but it’s not. She’s there. I see her on stage but she’s almost invisible. This is by her design. She wants to play. She has to play. She likes to perform. It’s probably best she doesn’t try to own the stage….because, she could. She has the power.
Fay…I love Fay. When I first saw the Savages at Coachella the 2:00 time seemed very odd for their music. Then again, they were just months old and didn’t even have an album out. They did have an incredible single (Husbands) which got the buzz going. Savages were in a tent in 2013. Again, odd. Fay was clearly a strong drummer but not completely confident. She would look around after a song like she was searching to be told “nice work!” That’s not the case now. She owns the kit. She’s in control of her power, and it’s the kind of power that could punch a hole through your chest. Her bass drum skills have improved dramatically. She’s so confident. Everyone in the crowd knows it. She’s perfectly on and in sync with Ayse every step.
For me, my money, I’ll pay to watch and listen to Ayse Hassan hammer a triangle. A kazoo. Hand claps. Her bass playing is….different. She’s almost soloing but she’s not. The thick of the Savages sound is brought forward and back with her approach. It’s not a simple approach. It’s just what separates the Savages from other bands. Ayse dances all show….eyes closed. She rarely looks at the crowd. In-between songs she’s still dancing, eyes closed. It looks like she’s already to the beat Fay is about to start hammering down in her head and she’s waiting for everyone to hurry up. It seems, to her, she’s in her own zone to make this work. She’s clearly shy with the attention so uses it to fuel her onstage approach. It’s incredibly fun to watch her bring such a thick bottom sound while she’s frolicking up on stage almost like she’s in a dance contest with rarely a fuck to give. I love it.
Oh….and yes, the music. I could go on and on about Jehnny. I won’t. You know. If you don’t, my attempt explaining the feeling of her gaze is something to experience….and, if you go to a show you will. She will actually hunt you. She wants you to feel the love as she’s feeling it.
Adore was not supposed to be an album about love. One of the main mantras of Savages was “no love songs” and yeah, it’s funny how what you oppose will truly bite you in the ass. As the Savages toured around the world in 2013-2014, all Jehnny received was love from the crowd. It was undeniable. And there you go. It’s now embedded, and who were the Savages to fight the most basic primal instinct? It was always going to be this way.
I’ll never say I’m a critic. I’m a fan. Of it all. All music (Um…some exceptions – well documented, see asterisk below). With the Savages I’m true as a fan, but also objective. I’ll be the first to tell you (and them), “this doesn’t work,” but…most of the time they are just on. They don’t miss much. Again, by design, but in modern music, it’s not the norm.
My point of all of this: go see the Savages. Wherever you can. This is a band that will be around for a long time. They make full albums. They care. It’s important to the Savages how their art feels to you. The Savages want to leave a mark. They’re leaving deep cuts.
Don’t think about it. Just go.
Beginning Song: Clarion Flowers, Chelsea Wolfe
Ending Song: In the Dreams of the Dead, Tribulation
* Coldplay doesn’t count. They are ALL replaceable.