SAVAGES + JOHNNY HOSTILE @ THE EL REY THEATRE
Photos and words by Debi Del Grande
What a night. The London-based post-punk rock band Savages returned to LA with the El Rey hosting two sold out gigs after its last appearance at The Echo. The debut album Silence Yourself from Pop Noire is still hot on the scene and I love blasting it in the car. But experiencing Savages live and in person is a whole other animal. Singer Jehnny Beth is an intense force on stage and in-your-face, but the entire band is a solid unit; no one is a weak link. As Beth communicates with the crowd with her eyes – staring into your soul, guitarist Gemma Thompson, bassist Ayse Hassan, and drummer Fay Milton are so focused, I wondered if they knew we were there. There was no need for small talk or fluff. Every single song was tight and stimulating. Although the band had posted a sign outside the door asking to “silence your phones” (wish every artist did that), it wasn’t really needed as this LA crowd either moshed or were glued to every breath and beat the band made.
Pop Noire’s co-founder and in-house producer Johnny Hostile opened with both Beth and Thompson making appearances on his set. Hostile kept it dark with a heavy dose of mystery.