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REVIEW: Savages @ De La Warr Pavilion, Bexhill, 18/2/16

Bexhill is a weird place for one of the nation’s best bands to visit on the opening night of a tour to celebrate the release of their sophomore album. London-based four-piece Savages’ Adore Life, released on January 22nd via Matador Records, is an excellent album for what should be a difficult follow-up to the fat-free manifesto of their 2013 debut full-length Silence Yourself. Location aside, the De La Warr Pavilion does seem to be a fitting venue for the undoubted confidence and alluring stage presence of Savages, and, in particular, lead signer Jenny Beth.

Despite the venue being suited to the band’s theatrical gloom, lead signer Jenny Beth admits that this is the band’s first visit to Bexhill, and for such a prominent band on the rise, it may be their last. But, for a band dressed in all-black from head to toe, Savages put on a vibrant show, with a menacing yet healthy, and crowd-friendly, mix of their two albums to date that witness slick signer Beth dominating the stage with her over-dramatic hand movements and an ostentatious presence that’s a second nature for the Pavilion, a venue that’s primarily an auditorium.

Introducing Shut Up as an “old classic” early on in the band’s set, it’s clear that Savages know that they’re a band on the rise with an ever-growing lethal arsenal of empowering songs that smack you right between the eyes before inviting you to dance. Throughout the show, Beth constantly teases the surprisingly ageing audience by walking down to the barrier. At one point, though, she elevates herself on top of the barrier and proceeds to gracefully start walking on top of the crowd, with the aid of ample helping hands.

About halfway into Bexhill’s 1500 capacity venue, she falls onto a sea of supporting hands and makes her way back onto the stage. It acts a perfect reflection of where Savages are at now as a band – capable of walking (literally) all over the industry on their road to success, but not quite there yet. It’s a work in progress, but they know this.

Before ending their set with middle-fingered anthem Fuckers, Beth paraphrases the song’s lyrics, thanking the crowd before telling them: “Don’t let the fuckers get you down”. They then launch into the stand-alone single, released a year after Silence Yourself, and with an impressive light show flashing on and off that moves the band in and out of vision. As Fuckers enforces, Savages are a strong band that can set their own limits of their success, and while doing so, not letting anyone get them down or get in the way.

By Ryan Lunn

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