An order to dance: on the road with Savages

It’s been a while since I wrote from the road, and I’ve been prompted by my friend, colleague and gentleman¬†Matt Farrar‘s photography. Matt’s the sound engineer for a band called Savages, while I play tour manager, driver, merchandise shop-keeper. Last night we had our first club show in the Netherlands. After performing on the Dutch version of Later With Jools Holland – ‘De Wereld Draait Door‘ – we arrived in the town of Nijmegen, just a few miles from the West German border. The venue was Merelyn, a two-hundred capacity room downtown, and we were welcomed with typical Dutch hospitality and professionalism by stage manager Loes and lighting engineer Lennard. We lounged backstage until soundcheck, after being amply fed and watered, and it was then that Matt took his pictures, originally posted on his own blog.

After playing this summer at Festival de-Affaire in this town, and the incredible Into The Great Wide Open on the island of Vlieland, we were curious about how those performances and our TV appearance might translate to audience numbers. The venue filled up quickly and as Fay, Gemma, Ayse and Jehnny weaved their way through an anticipatory crowd toward a smoke-obscured stage, Loes let me know that the room was effectively sold out, populated by those who hear in Savages the resonance of ’70s and ’80s art-rock and post-punk, and are drawn toward the band’s ‘order to dance’, best typified by their debut single ‘Flying to Berlin‘, with its direct lineage to Simple Minds’ classic ‘I Travel‘ from 1979, a time when many UK artists looked toward the European mainland for their influences.

Back-lit, strobing, intelligent, intensely focussed, Savages did not deliver a vintage performance by their own high standards, but the unquestionable magnetism of their presence is such that their success tonight could be measured by the sound of one-hundred-and-eighty jaws hitting the floor.


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