#1071: 2012, Savages, Husbands

by Jackie_South on March 19, 2016

2016 has been a busy old time for us all here at All That’s Left one way and another in our lives beyond this blog, hence our frankly shameful lack of output this year. For me, it has also meant that I haven’t been to any gigs this year until Thursday.

But what a great gig it was. George, I and a couple of mates crammed into the Roundhouse to watch the black-clad post-punk women of Savages rock out in a blistering performance, akin to early Siouxsie and the Banshees with the volume turned up to 11. All were on top form: Fay Milton tight driving drums, Ayse Hassan’s Jah Wobble-ish bass, and “savage” pretty much sums up Gemma Thompson’s lead guitar.

But most striking of all was vocalist Jehnnie Beth, cropped gel-slicked hair, midriff exposed beneath an unbuttoned black shirt, in one of the most intense performances since early Sinead O’Connor, broken only by her brief chats to the audience in her lusciously French-lilted accent. During Hit Me, she strode out into the middle of the audience across their shoulders, tethered to the stage by a thin umbilical cord of microphone lead, teasing “Will you catch me if you fall?”, in the most intense, awe-inspiring, mesmerising, attention-black-hole of a performance by a lead singer I have seen since Brett Anderson at the Brixton Academy 23 years ago.

I’ve picked their debut song for Songs to Learn and Sing. Husbands stitches together a furious opening bass akin to Holiday in Cambodia, with some truly dark lyrics:

Oh, I woke up and I saw
The face of a guy
I don’t know who he was
He had no eyes.

The refrain of “My husbands, husbands, husbands…” is a straight lift from Patti Smith’s of “Horses, Horses, Horses…” on Land. But, of course, there’s nothing wrong in that. Jehnnie Beth is a true rock goddess for our times.

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