Growing up in Poitiers, France, Camille Berthomier tasted the entertainment world from touring with her father's plays. In her late teens, she met Nicolas Congé, and in 2006 they relocated to London, England, adopting new names, Johnny Hostile and Jehnny Beth, to form the indie rocking John and Jehn. Gemma Thompson played guitar for them, but began forming the concept for a band called Savages. Hostile declined being in the new band, leaving Beth as the lone vocalist. With Ayse Hassan on bass and Fay Milton on drums, Savages became an all-female indie rock quartet in 2011. The band's second album, Adore Life, was released on January 22, 2016.
The world might not know Camille Berthomier, but before long the world will know Jehnny Beth, the person that Berthomier becomes when she leads Savages. Headlining at Irving Plaza tonight, Beth proved to be a fierce rocker, writer and reveler. Onstage, the four raven-haired members all wore black, accentuated as the staging utilized only white lights. Hassan thumped hard and steady bass riffs as Milton creatively played drums and cymbals and Thompson played sparse and clear collages on her guitar, never once relaxing into standard blues or rock power chord progressions. As the musicians relegated themselves to their areas of the stage, Beth roved a limitless path that included walking on the upraised hands and shoulders of her audience, singing chant-like manifestos about rebellion, justice and complicated, troublesome love. Comparisons could be made to the song-crafting of U2, but this was immensely more jagged and angular and far less anthemic or commercial. Beth sang most of the band's two albums in a limited, almost talky range, but projected anger, resilience and mystery with every passionate breath. Wow!
Visit Savages at www.savagesband.com.