All photography by Tom Morris
Let’s start by rolling back the clock a little bit and talk about the story of House Of Savages… About 4 years ago I starting mentioning to a few friends and putting shout outs online to recruit some like-minded friends to run an alternative rock night of sorts. Summer 2014 a super-enthusiastic Aussie girl reached out via my blog and said she thought it was ace and had a friend or two in mind. We met up in Camden Town and there sparked one of the coolest little projects I’ve ever worked on with some of the nicest people in the city I’ve met. They were both massive music fans. They loved live music and they thought alternative rock was a great scene. Money wasn’t even considered and we wanted to create a rock community that could showcase new artists whilst offering an evenings entertainment for those curious. House Of Savages was born October 2014.
After 2 years of shows, making friends in the emerging scene and really getting to know the Reading festival performers of tomorrow we need to press pause for a couple of months at least to regenerate, to allow the Aussie one to go and spend some quality time at home and to consider coming back with a House Of Savages 2.0. As is tradition in the HofS camp we celebrate our birthdays with beer, cake and a line-up of some of the best artists that have graced our stage over the past twelve months. It only made sense to invite back a selection of truly brilliant and exciting acts whose raw-talent shone through. Crown The Mushroom knocked our socks off with their first performance following a short hiatus, Duke Of Wolves shoes us how the demise of one band can result in a very beautiful thing indeed, Wannaballoon are just a massive diamond in the rough for us and Staring Out The Sun are true showsman that any rock show needs. With a beverage firmly placed in one hand and the other charged and ready to throw the horns, fist-pump and generally jesture in a positive fashion, we were ready to kick start the evenings events.
Vocals. On. Fleek. Could just leave the review at this, but that’s not all that’s talented about London’s most under-rated female-fronted alt. rock act. Frontwoman Davina definitely leads the pack through the set, even rallying up a crowd chant of the bands name during the set, but the entire band are super comfortable on stage. They’ve rehearsed a lot and their music is both catchy enough to sing along to, but to stop and admire at points. Ending up the set with a selection from their ‘Trilogy’ release it feels only right that the band announce their first music video is coming soon. Onwards and upwards.
The band claim they’re the sickest band in the city. Now, let’s go back to basics here, they’re not talking dope, or represent here…they’re talking germs. A good old cold has ravaged it’s way through the Duke camp and apparently it’s spreading like wildfire. This is a lil’story frontman Jim says to us during the set as we suddenly clock (unaware that there’s even a sore throat involved), that the reason he’s gulping down his water after every song is that there’s some serious dry throat business going on. Despite that you wouldn’t notice a thing…Sara, Orlando and Tom are owning the stage as they did in their last set; Sara with the sassy bass projection nailed, Orlando with the licks and Tom keeping the troop in line on drums. Having been involved in no less than 4 House Of Savages shows – thanks to a previous band – Jim and his musical crew are a fitting addition to the line-up and get everyone joining in with the chorus to their song about Terry the serial killer. As you do.
I’ve seen Wannaballoon as a 2-piece, and as a 4-piece and both provided a fresh take on a band that is so raw we can’t help but adore them. Spear-headed by the seemingly shy, but focused Callum, he switches on stage into a furiously charged rock leader, with comparison to early White Stripes, DZ DEATHRAYS and FIDLAR a good taster to those yet to catch them live. Shabby Chic we like to call it. Asthetically, aurally. It’s a dream for us garage rock fans. Thanks to the delight that is TFL, we almost had a solo set, but luckily we had added percussion within minutes of going live. That is the ultimate swagger. Rocking up, rocking in, snapback slider and he’s ready to go. Just another reason why we love this band in whatever guise it appears in and why we urge alt. rock fans to give them some love. If they were in the US they’d be quitting the day job already.
In the same way Dave Grohl holds the crown for nicest man in rock, Staring Out The Sun (as well as coming a close second) definitely hold the certificate for the happiest, jolliest band on stage. Smiles and cheers all round, we’re dealing with the perfect marriage of musicianship and performance with being jovial and making the crowd hella relaxed. Another supposed casualty of the sore-throat and general cold, you wouldn’t notice without scrutiny. Harmonies on point and the welcomed return of ‘the strobes’ (yes, a rock band with strobe lighting that’s controlled by a foot pedal…don’t underrate it). We’ve loved having Staring Out The Sun on our stage and are keeping our social eyes on this band for the next step.
Our headlining act, Staring Out The Sun, treated us to an encore which was very much appreciated by fans old and new, and then we reverted to the dandiest playlist ever created (possibly) and had a rock out to RATM and Wolf Alice. That’s how it rolls at House Of Savages, you come, you see, you enjoy and then you party. And it’s all over before bedtime so we don’t have to show up to work hungover and looking dishevelled the next day to work or wherever. The last 2 years have been an absolute ball, with 99.9% ups and a few learning curves that we’ve worked together as a team to get through. Our heart is still 110% in the alt. scene of London town and we’ll be keeping our eyes and ears out for the next stars rising up out of the bowels of bandcamp, soundcloud or wherever. If you’ve ever read one of our reviews, clicked on a social media link or even attended a gig at the wonderful George Tavern we salute you one and all. There’s one thing to have a passion for music and love working with bands, but there’s nothing without a community to enjoy it with you.
Keep your ears to the ground for 2017…
Current status: P A U S E D
As free events go, House Of Savages is a brand that is clearly engaged and committed to the new music scene in London with the knowledge and contacts to make their showcases a real watercooler moment in an otherwise busy and saturated live-music market. Running every month, it’s worth keeping up with their random banter and updates on the next gig that “we’re all invited too” on their Facebook and Twitter pages.
House of Savages is definitely keeping London alive ‘n ’amplified.
Thank you for your support and attendance over the past 2 years and we hope to see you soon!
Tales from the toilets. The George Tavern’s loos have always been a place to express yourself. In many ways I guess. Every month I’ve visited the facilities and been met with a new piece of artwork or philosophical splurge that’s helped steer my way of life (this may be an exaggeration), but I’d failed to notice the most simple, yet efficient suggestions on these fine walls. I mean, in terms of being in the right place at the right time, this couldn’t have picked a better spot…