Savages at The Danforth Music Hall

Photographs by Randall Vasquez.

I never really connected with Savages’ debut, Silence Yourself or they hype surrounding the four London post-punks.  Even seeing them at the Opera House almost three years ago didn’t floor me like I thought they should.

2016 is a new year with a new album.  The sophomore release, Adore Life is an awesome tour de force, one of my favourite albums of the year so far.  So I went into a not-packed Danforth Music Hall with a new set of expectations.

The four-piece not only met my expectations, they virtually grabbed me by the throat, smacked me around and had me in awe for 90 minutes while unleashing a brutal assault on the ears.

Opening with “I Am Here” from their debut, the band never really let off the throttle as they motored through the entire new album and a healthy selection of tracks from their debut.

Vocalist Jehnny Beth was the “icy” conductor who worked the room like it would be her last time.  She was such an intense and engaging point of reference.  Her vocals are the soothing balm for the visceral attack so it was unfortunate that her vocals were more buried in the mix then they should have been.  But she was as riveting to watch as guitarist Gemma Thompson, bassist Ayse Hassan and drummer Fay Milton was to hear.  There were times when it got real loud that the Music Hall was losing the fight in containing the noise and at a couple of points it was a noisy din.

With a bare bones visual presentation it was all the work of the band themselves and they were on fire.  Highlights were all the tracks but special mention to “The Answer”, “Hit Me” and “Shut Up” would be notable.  The passion exuding from the stage was palpable and should have driven the place crazy.

Call it the Toronto Curse, or a case of the frosty Mondays but sadly Beth was reduced to opener status with repeated calls asking the shy crowd to take one step closer to the stage.  Maybe they were too stunned at the abrupt start and maintained intensity over the course of the night.  I know I needed room for my jaw to fall when they dropped a stunning read of “Adore” that led into set-closer “Fuckers”.

No encore, no frills and no BS, but a euphoric night of wild fury and passion with no abandon.  Concert of the year so far and this four piece should be playing sheds if there’s any justice out there.

Thanks to Live Nation Ontario for media access.

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