Posted on 2013/07/28 16:55
  • Live Report
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There have been numerous acts at Fuji Rock this year that pride themselves on their songwriting ability: DIIV, Daughter, Lite and the grand-daddy of the all, My Bloody Valentine. Joining this illustrious company on Sunday was Savages, an intense post-punk outfit from London that has drawn comparisons with the likes of Joy Division, Siouxsie and the Banshees and even The Cure in their earlier years.

Appearing on stage Sunday in the middle of perhaps the heaviest downpour to hit the festival to date this year, the quartet certainly didn’t pull any punches. The one-hour set included a mix of material from their debut album, “Silence Yourself,” as well as a handful of newer material — quite possibly to fill the allotted timetable (“Silence Yourself” is exactly 37 minutes 38 seconds long).

The rain seemed to get progressively harder the longer Savages’ set went on and at one ridiculous point in proceedings, various members of the audience were turning to each other in disbelief about what was coming down in buckets above them. No one left, though, and what’s a rock gig without some mud on your trousers? The brutal set Savages played made sure that this was going to be a bare minimum.

Standout tracks included “Hit Me” — featuring an introduction by vocalist Jehnny Beth that included the lyrics “I am a dirty little dog, I want to be thrown up against a wall” — and a particularly abrasive version of “She Will.” Beth was in fine voice throughout, with her multifarious talents especially on display during the hurriedly whispered chorus of “Husband.” Savages also played an unnamed new number during their set that started off surprisingly slow but ended on an intensity that would have put nuclear fission to shame.

“She Will,” ironically, could have sounded better if the rain had lasted just a little longer, with Gemma Thompson’s soaring guitar chords left unaccompanied by what eventually became a fairly pleasant evening.

Savages are playing a gig at Astro Hall in Tokyo on Monday and you’d be well-advised to pop in if you can, even if you saw them on the big stage here. As good as Savages were on Sunday afternoon, it was fairly easy to imagine they would sound infinitely better in a tight club environment. As far as this writer is concerned, there’s absolutely no excuse…