London-based post-punk revival rock band, Savages performed a stunning set at Metro in Chicago on Monday, September 16th with opener Duke Garwood. The Savages consist of singer, Jehnny Beth, guitarist Gemma Thompson, bassist Ayse Hassan and drummer Fay Milton. Their Mercury Prize-nominated debut album ‘Silence Yourself’ catapulted the band to fame in the UK and they’re achieving similar success over here stateside. Their sound is synonymous with the likes of PJ Harvey and Siouxsie and the Banshees, but with a bold confidence of post-punk that has made them famous.
The Savages’ 75-minute set was performed to a packed house of astute fans who heard the band’s rallying performances and a surprisingly, sharp sense of humor. The show kicked off with “I Am Here” and it showed Beth’s dominating vocal range flanked with guitarists Gemma and bassist Ayse. Despite their all black ensemble, it was not hard to miss their shining examples of heightened awareness and facelessness of modern culture reflected in songs such as “I Need Something New.”
“We love what we do, we love music. We don’t take ourselves seriously but we take music seriously.” – Jehnny Beth
The Savages seems like an experiment in her own power. Maybe Savages don’t identify as feminists, but they created a feminist space at Metro—a space where Beth could sit with her feet dangling off the edge of the stage and, during the disturbing “Hit Me”, describe a fetish fantasy in detail. “I want to be thrown up against the wall. I want to be smacked,” she commands. Cursing limiting customs, Savages professed doubt ("She Will") and oppression ("Husbands"). Independent thinking and self-realization, the band implied, matter most in an age of convenience and diversion. "Turn yourself on," snarled Beth, realizing life's rewards are greater once you're freed from existence.
The building had signs regarding the use of cell phones, but the Savages justified their disclosure by reminding us that our constant everyday digital usage isn’t necessary at a rock ‘n’ roll show. “We use phones, laptops, digital stuff everyday. You shouldn’t allow anything to alter your primal experience of music,” says Beth.
Toward the end of the set’s closer, the Savages performed new song called “F**kers” and as Beth looked out at the people cheering for her and she bowed again and again. Savages have a distinctive edge to their music and personality, but beneath it all is gratitude for the people who come to share in their music. “Don’t let the f**kers get you down,” snarled Beth.
I Am Here
I Need Something New
Waiting for a Sign
Flying to Berlin
For more information on the Savages, please visit www.savagesband.com.
The Metro is located at 3730 N. Clark Street in Chicago. For more information please visit www.metrochicago.com or call (773) 549-4140.