ACL Review: Savages

Staff Writer

A 1 p.m. set is a tough thing to pull off well. However, Friday’s set from the young, all-female U.K. post-punk revival act Savages was superb.

Dressed in all black, the four members of the band delivered a seamless wall of scorching post-punk that rivaled the midday sun in intensity. Both my scalp and my mind were scalded by the sun and the band, respectively, the former in a quite unfortunate manner and the latter in the best manner possible.

Drawing a majority of the set from their first and only release, “Silence Yourself,” the band played a quick 40 minutes of heavily distorted guitar, driving bass lines, clashing cymbals and choppy, high-volume snare and bass hits; everything punk should be, including the healthy dose of pugnacity implied in playing 2/3 of the allotted set time.

The track “Shut Up” was the standout, featuring front woman Jehnny Beth belting heavy lines like, “All just born right trembling so/ You’re holding to a lie that pulls the moon at night,” in the style of a crazed Pat Benatar with a pack of hellhounds at her feet.

Gemma Thompson, the band’s guitarist, laid down solid, melodic licks throughout the set, being featured most prominently on the howling “Husbands.”

Bassist Ayse Hassan provided a solid foundation across all of the tracks, giving the other instrumentalists room to embellish with screeching feedback, heavy cymbal crashes and spastic fills.

The audience, which was small even by early-set standards, responded with an intensity that rivaled the band’s music itself, cheering and jumping around with gusto. Overall, Savages were and will be (at weekend two) a great way to kick off ACL 2013.