Concert review: Savages at Ace of Cups

Erica Thompson

"I think you should come closer," Savages frontwoman Jehnny Beth said to the crowd at the band's sold-out show at Ace of Cups on Sunday. "We like you wet and sweaty."

The night was indeed marked by physicality, as Beth made contact with audience members - grabbing hands and crowd surfing three times - to express her love.

That emotion was at the core of the concert. The British post-punk quartet, clad in black, played every song off its sophomore album, Adore Life, a collection of prickly love songs. Among them was the driving head-banger "The Answer" and the sauntering "Slow Down the World," which Beth introduced as a "sexy song."

Before the band played "I Need Something New," Beth warned the crowd about a problem that often befalls romantic relationships. "There's nothing more dangerous than the bored woman," she said. Beth delivered the first few lines a cappella, giving the song a theatrical quality. She employed this technique on a couple other songs, and at times opted to perform the lyrics in a spoken-word form.

Beth's knack for drama is matched only by her athleticism, which was on full display. The audience looked on in amazement as she danced, jumped, dipped and punched the air throughout the show. At one point during "Hit Me," she allowed the crowd to prop her up by her knees and raise her so high that she could (and did) touch the ceiling. And the fearless singer never missed a note.

Savages balanced exciting, high-energy performances with more subdued moments during "Mechanics" and "Adore Life." The crowd listened quietly and intently, captivated by Beth's voice, which was as clear and impressive live as it is on the recording. And she knew just when to hold a note a little longer or add a major pause before the end of a phrase to create a memorable effect.

The band closed the show with "Fuckers," one of the few songs it played from its first album, Silence Yourself. "We'll come back if you come back," Beth told the audience.

With a show this spectacular, it's likely only a matter of time before Savages makes it big. Better see them now while you can still reach out and touch them.