Savages - Manchester Ritz
After a stereotypically grim northern day, the wise swapped flooded and cold streets for the semi-crowded, lukewarm interior of The Ritz. The promise within? Angst-ridden types Savages, here to remind everyone that angular guitar rock is not just confined to those with a Manc postcode.
Savages wear black, because black is how they feel on the inside. Lead singer Jehnny Beth makes observations about the early show time and the cold weather before declaring it’s time to warm things up. The group had specified that no cameras or recording equipment was allowed during the show and this quickly proved to be a brilliant move, the audience a (small, inland) sea of nodding heads rather than the usual bank of waving smartphones.
As such, Savages understand the live context. They take the polished album track you’re familiar with and turn it into a something new, something different. Rather than simply ape the record, they extend the scope of each track: louder, longer, the squeaks and cracks normally associated with sound problems just mean that Savages are playing extra hard.
Beth has gained a lot of confidence as a front woman in the last couple of years: long gone are the awkward pauses in between songs; now she struts about the stage, towering intimidatingly over the front row. Extended instrumentals no longer mean she stands around staring at the people before her, but instead give her a chance to display her flailing dance moves. Ever against expectations, the do not play their new single ‘Marshal Dear’, but find room for ‘Shut Up’, ‘She Will’, ‘Husbands’ and even a couple of new songs. They finish the night with a new track called ‘Fuckers’, apparently based on a note that was left in Beth’s kitchen saying ‘don’t let the fuckers get you down’.
On this evidence, there's no chance of that happening.