Savages : London Hoxton Bar and Grill : live review

Best New Band in the UK is a tag that’s been thrown around lightly over the years, garnished on bands that aren’t even the best new band in their street.  So, it’s with some cynicism that I headed off to Hoxton Bar And Kitchen to check out Savages.  I’d deliberately not read most of the details behind the claims or listened to the music as I was curious to see what the fuss was about.  I knew there were an all-girl four-piece and that was about it.

The Bar and Kitchen is packed.  This gig is a support for O Children’s album launch, but it’s evident there’s a large section of the crowd here for Savages.  It doesn’t take long to work out why.  I’m immediately struck by the drummer who’s hyperactive and holds the whole thing together, yet takes each song off in numerous different directions without seemingly blinking an eye.  The guitarist and bass player are coolness personified, almost as if they’re playing to an empty room.  


The focal point is obviously vocalist Jehn, and whilst there’s easy comparisons to be made to the likes of Curtis and Booth in the way she moves around the stage and jerks her body, she’s a unique female lead of a band.  Her vocals sometimes get lost in the mix, but you wonder if that’s intentional.

 The music?  It’s a modern take on a mix 70s punk and 80s electro, yet doesn’t sound like any of the bands they’ve been compared to ”“ Joy Division, Slits etc.  It’s been done badly so many times before, but this is genuinely exciting. As well as the short, sharp bursts of energy, there’s also more contemplative moments in some of the songs. As the set builds to a climax and the usually staid chatty Hoxton crowd get into it, you can see the confidence rising on stage.

So, best new band in Britain?  I wanted to say no, and give lots of reasons to counter the hype that’s building.  But if they’re not, I’d like to see who is.


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