LET’S get beyond the hype, pretentious analysis and the fact that they are women. Savages are a magnificent post-punk band whose trembling growls and glassy screeches grab tonight’s Glasgow crowd with throttle. Their skill as musicians alone is enough to get excited about.

Savages have carved themselves out of an opposition to many aspects of 21st century culture so tonight’s performance in arts warehouse space SWG3 is, interesting .The London quartet’s current tour is in anticipation of the release of their debut album Silence Yourself, which is already amassing critical acclaim.

Johnny Hostile plays a truly bizarre support set which fails to engage. The skeletal singer plays distorted bass over pre-recorded electronic and piano accompaniment whilst marching back and forth along the length of the small stage, gibbering lyrics like someone talking in their sleep. A performance that clearly demands fluid and sincere execution, Hostile’s stopping and starting to change backing tracks on his laptop and pick up a knocked-over microphone stand, it is at best intriguing, and at worst uncomfortable.

Savages vocalist Jehnny Beth, however, is more than what you hope for in a front person. Arrestingly beautiful and powerful on stage, her cutting vocals – and confrontational lyrics – grab you by the neck and shake you. Bassist Ayse Hassan accompanies her at the fore of the stage, eyes closed and moving incessantly to the very loud, richly aggressive music.

The band showcase their debut material with an honesty that makes the performance feel immediate and personal. They open with City’s Full – Beth cries that it’s full of ‘pretty sissy love’ and ‘skinny pretty girls’ who make her ‘want to go down.’ Beth has spoken in interviews of the significance of pornography in shaping their musical ideas.

Drummer Fay Milton is awe-inducing to watch, jerking in quick repetition along with her tight playing. Beth engages with her band mates, allowing them as much credit as she herself inspires. They are all vital, and astoundingly talented. Precise and refined distorted punk is no easy feat.

Husbands, the B-side to their debut EP which spearheaded Savages’ rise to eminence, is razor-edged grunge. The spiky guitar and bass riffs flit angrily about your head long after they’ve stopped, like an unshakable dream (or nightmare).

Before playing their final song, current single She Will, Beth asks for the lights to be turned down so that she can see the crowd. As guitarist Gemma Thompson tantalisingly picks out the quivering refrain, Beth asks in her sugary French-accented voice, “are you all feeling turned on?” She smiles with pleasure. Whatever she sees in the crowd’s faces, she takes to be a ‘yes.’

By Cait Gillespie