Savages may have marked the last date of their tour with little fanfare, but a crowded main floor of Vega is a testament to success they have enjoyed since the release of Silence Yourself, their debut album on Sacred Bones Records. Proving that I’m not the only one to find the taste of Copenhageners unpredictable, the organisers were forced to move the gig from Lille to Store Vega after a surge in public interest.
One satisfaction is the amount of people gathered around the stage for the opening act; the other is the act itself. Joining Savages all the way from Australia, A Dead Forest Index produce beautiful music under an awful name. Borrowing both from the icy folk-songs of Nico (whose album, The Marble Index, probably explains part of the band’s moniker) and the guitar-and-drums minimalism of Low, these two boys create intense atmospheres through the use of layered vocals, canny guitar effects, and unpredictable drum fills.
Savages saunter on stage like they’ve just finished beating up some skinny indie boyband in a back alley. With no more ceremony than a single “Hi” from lead singer Jehnny, the band launch into “I Am Here”. Emerging out of the slide and sustain noise from Gemma Thompson’s guitar, the verse has that bass-lead bounce that made post-punk almost the only genre I listened to in high school, while the chorus showcases Jehnny’s vocal abilities, as precise as they are wild. The bounce isn’t a complete fabrication of mine, as I see drummer Fay Milton jumping up and down on her seat in time with the kick-drum.
Jehnny prowls about with intense blue eyes and an Ian Curtis haircut (well, that isn’t going to help against the comparison-brigade). She doesn’t so much talk to the crowd as recite short monologues. It is an inescapable fact that Savages are a very serious-minded band, but no one needs jokes or witty anecdotes when confronted with a band that can play songs like “Husbands”, which puts to shame most ‘original’ or ‘authentic’ post-punk bands.
The other benefit of the band’s seriousness is their strict and often-repeated policy on phones and cameras. Plastered all around the place are posters reminding people that constantly taking pictures during the show will probably get you a black eye. Some bastard close by me keeps snapping away, until one heroic guy behind him swatted the phone out of his hands.
The set is a short one, barely an hour, but then their only album, Silence Yourself, is less than 40 minutes in length. Savages close with their longest song, as yet unrecorded, and generally referred to as “Fuckers”. It doesn’t contain the most profound or interesting lyrics ever (“don’t let those fuckers get you down”), but it gives a chance for the band to stretch out and play with the dynamics of a song. It’s a good ending to what must have been a wild year for the band, and as people shuffle out of the venue and into Ideal Bar next door to hear Jehnny’s DJ set, you can’t help wondering what comes next.