Live Reviews

Savage Nomads – Live @ The Garage, Islington

Wednesday 19th March, London

The Garage seemingly played host to a passage through the decades on Wednesday night for the official launch of The Savage Nomads new single PORNO. Beginning with 60s rock and roll infused The Roscoes, the night led us through punk courtesy of Life, grunge thanks to Kill Moon and a slice of mega-indie in the shape of the headliners. Though the room was never really much more than half-full, some on the music on display was of a quality that effortlessly captivated the entire audience.

Roscoes2Kicking off the night were Liverpool-based band The Roscoes with their brand of country, come rock, come indie. Imagine if Van Morrison, Neil Young and Keith Richards had got together with the backdrop of the rich musical history we have today. They may have been playing to the smallest crowd of the night yet their infectious, up-tempo sounds inspired dancing and more than a fair amount of foot-shuffling. With a combination of tightly knit harmonies, smooth as can be bass lines and thoroughly prepared guitar solos, frontman Ed Barlow was able to project his tender, wholesome voice into the ears of all that stood before him.

Following this, the ever-growing crowd were treated to a snapshot of modern punk as Life combined indie imagery with the raw passion and aggression that makes punk so enthralling. They may not have been the most technically tight performers on the night but the floods of sweat that flew from their guitarist Mick’s head as he bounded and strutted round the stage showed that these lads were giving us a whole-hearted insight into their twisted musical world. By combining their rebellious spirit with hints of modern indie, Life have surely found their niche and the four lads certainly showed off why Hull has been named City Of Culture.

KillMoon1So after hearing modern takes on 60s rock and roll and 70s punk we skipped the 80s to dive headfirst into the world of 90s grunge. Kill Moon were absolutely magnificent and held a startling level of composure that would have given Nirvana and Smashing Pumpkins a run for their money. Vocalist/Guitarist Izzy Bee Phillips was by far the star of the evening; with a masterful dead-eye stare casting a chill down the spines of those who oppose her. It was genuinely pleasing to come across someone so full of charisma and intensity that completely wiped the floor with anyone that would dare challenge her. With all the hallmarks of perfect grunge, Kill Moon provided an intense experience that will remain in the memory for some time.

Finally, it was the turn of the highly regarded The Savage Nomads to take to the stage. Having previously reviewed their single PORNO with such praise I went into the performance hoping that they could match the studio quality with live performance. Unfortunately, I was underwhelmed by the band as there was a worryingly low level of charisma and passion visible throughout the set. Though there was nothing intrinsically wrong with the performance it failed to capture the room to the level that the previous bands had achieved. Cole Salewicz has indeed got an impressive, emotional voicebox, yet as a unit the band were comfortably dwarfed by their predecessors. Certain moments were indeed memorable and enjoyable, such as the brief foray into funk, yet nothing quite seemed to take the band to the next level as some of the songs simply refused to draw the audience in and the decision to come back for an obviously planned encore was a poor one. It felt like the band had misjudged the audience and the space slightly and, though their music is definitely of a high enough calibre to make them very successful indeed, on this occasion they were simply outshone by a world-class support act.

Ciaran Steward

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