LIVE REVIEW: Savages – Irving Plaza, NYC

By April 28, 2016

Seeing any band in a foreign country is always going to be a memorable experience. Seeing Savages at Irving Plaza New York was not only memorable, but a lesson in how electric a gig can be when absolutely everything is on point. Not just the band but the venue, the crowd, sound, lights…. EVERYTHING.


Pic: P Squared for Brooklyn Vegan
For those of you playing at home in Australia, Irving Plaza is kind of like The Arena in Brisbane, it’s a black box with a mezzanine, it’s not pretty but it does the job and it does it well. Stuffing up the subway timing, we arrived to hear the last few songs for Australian (now Brooklyn-based) support Angus Tarnawsky. This one man sample master & multi-instrumentalist was impressive with an intense but minimalist sound emanating from his gadgets. With little online about him and an extremely small following in comparison to Savages, it was refreshing to see their team bring an unknown artist like this on board for their whole US tour. It’s something Radiohead did with Connan Mockasin a few years ago and it’s great to see they seemingly chose him on pure merit, not by how many followers he had amassed on social media.
One thing Australian venues will never adopt – due to our stingy ‘no tip’ ethos and decent minimum wage –  is waiter service at music venues. It was impressive (and convenient) to learn we could get a drink without going to the bar between sets. Not losing ones place at a concert can be the make or break of a good night (especially for a shorty like me) and thankfully we managed to get a killer spot.
 Pic: P Squared for Brooklyn Vegan
As the four powerful ladies of Savages took to the stage in their trademark understated black garb it was clear to see these fearless women would command from start to finish. Fittingly they began with ‘I Am Here’ with the intensity, vigour and fearlessness of these women appearing unpalpable. Watching them is like being sucked into a wonderful vortex where the only thing to do is be dumbstruck with eyes glued to the stage.
The band played pretty much right through their new Adore Life album with a few singles from previous offerings scattered between.
The climax of the night during single ‘Adore Life’ saw singer Jehnny Beth march out across the wanting crowd, arms flailing to catch her as she stepped almost 20 metres from the stage. She stayed suspended for almost five minutes with fans holding her up and finished by decimating the final chorus after an impressive crowd surf back to the stage. They finished with ‘fuckers’, riling the crowd up into a final frenzy, ready to enter the (rather freezing) New York March night.

“Will you catch me if I fall?” – Jehnny Beth @savagesband #savages #adorelife #dontletthefuckersgetyoudown

A video posted by Viv Mellish (@viverama) on


Nearly a year before this gig, Savages debuted some of their new songs from their recently released album Adore Life at a three-week residency split between New York’s Mercury Lounge, and Baby’s All Right. Upon their return, it was clear their fanbase had not only grown but become more enamoured with the London-based band. This is clearly a group of musicians who are focussed, uncompromising and they don’t give a fuck about what’s in their way.
With an Australian tour scheduled for June. This isn’t a tour to be missed. Buy a ticket. NOW.