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Concert review: Savages brutalize The Basement

Posted by Brad Keefe | September 16, 2013 01:40 PM

The Alive staff triple-teamed the Sunday awesome concert logjam in Columbus, with editor Justin McIntosh hitting up Spiritualized at the Wex and music writer Andy Downing taking on the big Queens of the Stone Age show outdoors at the LC.

I was definitely feeling the conundrum. QOTSA is always killer live, and they're touring on their best album in years. Spiritualized is still on my bucket list. But I went with the chance to see a breakout band in the cozy confines of The Basement. And I have no regrets.

Savages is an all-female four-piece that has the British music magazines frothing. And I'm a musical anglophile, so I try to never miss buzzy Brit bands when they come to town. Because, let's be honest, Columbus isn't a hotbed for the UK market. The Basement has been the venue of choice for some bands that are much, much larger in the homeland (I've seen stellar sets from The Joy Formidable, British Sea Power and Biffy Clyro there).

It was, most assuredly, an intimate affair. I'd estimate 50 people, and there was room on the floor. Good in the sense of not having to deal with The Basement's notoriously tough sightlines during a packed show, but bad in the sense that we need to support good bands when they come to town. C'mon, Columbus.

It was a blistering, noisy and generally transcendent run through band's blistering, noisy and generally transcendent debut album Silence Yourself. Singer Jehnny Beth is pure intensity, wailing over the wall of noise behind her with a rawness that evokes Siouxsie Sioux or even Ian Curtis. Savages make their revival of post-punk noise feel fresh and vital.

The band also joined the recent trend of posted notices requesting that patrons turn of their phones. I'm as guilty as anyone, but it's a nice change of pace to be the in moment. I'll just have to apply Instagram filters to my memories, I guess.

Interestingly, Savages will be joining the band playing opposite them at the LC later on the Queens of the Stone Age tour — their tours just happened to convene in Columbus. My hopes that the concert gods might actually have the foresight to just add Savages to the QOTSA bill were actually apparently considered. "We were invited to play next door with Queens," Beth said late in the set. "We said, nah, we'll play our own show. Thanks."

Like my compatriots, I have no regrets about my decision on the night.