Published by JB on May 22, 2016
Review by Renee Schaefer. Photography by Jeffrey Becker.
Concert Review: Savages / Head Wound City – The Fine Line Cafe – Minneapolis, MN – May 21, 2016
From the first notes of “I Am Here” to the last reverberation of “Fuckers,” Savages put on an intense and raw performance at the sold out Fine Line Music Cafe in Minneapolis. The stage setup was simple – a dark red curtain along the back of the stage, dark house lights, white spotlights, and a little smoke – providing the perfect environment to enjoy the visceral and powerful performance without distraction. The Fine Line’s low stage and no photo pit facilitated crowd interaction on a very primal level. The band cranked out song after song, pausing only briefly to say thank yous to openers Head Wound City and to the crowd for coming out.
Frontwoman and lyricist Jehnny Beth spent most of her night on the front edge of the stage or among the crowd, reaching out to fans in the front rows, mic within inches of faces, frequently launching herself into the crowd. She made sure that the whole room was engaged, twice surfing to the middle of the room, once surfing all the way back to the soundboard, walking or standing on top of the crowd, and once jumping down to mingle among the 800 bodies that filled the venue. She was cat-like, confident, at times sensual, and always in charge.
Though Jehnny Beth’s dynamic performance and spot on vocals commanded significant attention, the rest of the band were no less key to the experience. A bouncing Ayse Hassan provided the pulse with her driving basslines, and Fay Milton, arms raised high as she smashed cymbals and attacked the drums, powered the set. Gemma Thompson’s noisy and distorted guitar provided the atmosphere. The band was extremely tight and transported the room to another plane for the approximately 75 minute set.
Savages have been vocal against the use of cell phones at their shows, preferring that the audience focus on being present and in the moment. The message is out. Without signs or comments, phones were mostly put away, which only added to the otherworldly atmosphere created inside the Fine Line.
Openers Head Wound City, featuring members of Blood Brothers and Yeah Yeah Yeahs, started the evening with a blistering set of short, metal infused punk rock songs to an enthusiastic and appreciative crowd. They joined Savages for “Fuckers” to bookend the evening.
I Am Here
Slowing Down the World
When In Love
I Need Something New