Words and photos by Wes Foster
When they first began their slow rise to popularity, Savages were a massive breath of fresh air – all female, writing about serious issues and a hankering for feedback meant that they were almost immediately earmarked for great things. They’re not the heaviest band out there, nor the fastest, but they strike a balance between crafting music that plays well and says something.
While their first record, Silence Yourself, was a tour de force of style and ideas, this year’s Adore Life is still very good, but feels a little softer, a little flatter. The songs seem to have turned to safer ground than previously and, although they touch on philosophy very slightly, they read as pop songs, and don’t have the aggression. They’re well written and they work as tracks, but they just don’t feel like Savages. I suppose one of the main problems here is that they are still regarded as alternative, when really they aren’t actually very left of field.
Seeing them live feels partially the same. They feel exciting as performers and it isn’t that the passion isn’t there anymore – it visibly is – but it feels like it has lost some of the vehemence and spittle.
I last saw them live around three years ago, just after their first record came out, and it was impossible to take your eyes off them. They were utterly captivating, without really doing anything – they had the look, the music, the energy all rolled into one. Now there seems to be a want to be sexier and I can’t tell if that feels organic or not – like they were repressing something before or pushing something now.
All of that said, they are still better than most live bands – an utterly solid performance going through a fair few from both albums and finishing with the stunning 2014 ‘Fuckers’ single. They are by no means a bad band, but are a band who are frustratingly close to being utterly brilliant – like on ‘Words To The Blind’ (it’s a shame seeing them tour with Bo Ningen without any joint live ventures, though maybe that’s asking too much) – but just fall short.
The show took place at Albert Hall on Monday 22nd February, 2016.