On a Friday night, House of Blues on the legendary Sunset Strip is one of my favorite places to be. In the shadow of infamous hotels, this venue is among one of the most iconic in Los Angeles. News rattled the local industry when House of Blues announced they would have to relocate to make room for a luxury apartment building (oh good, just what LA needed more of). Moral of the story: I treasure my moments here. Thus I jumped at the chance to see SAVOY return last Friday night…
Despite being all ages, the show wasn’t nearly as packed as the last time the guys came to town, but the excitement was palpable. There was a pretty even mix of youngens packed up as close to the front, and longtime fans seasoned enough to know that the soundboard is the perfect place to be. As the lights went down, the chant began on cue: SA VOY SA VOY. These guys have grown up a lot since they started. Their intense style and flavor has stayed the same but their talent has developed tenfold.
As soon as their overture-style opener begins, the question immediately becomes “when will the lasers?!” It’s the elephant in the room. A millisecond of bright green brings the crowd to a tipping point. The song drops and chaos ensues. With the high-octane techno banger “The Bridge”, Savoy has their audience in the palm of their hands. After a few minutes of paralyzing awe, I found myself dancing with the fervor and intensity of my typical cardio routine. The pace and beat is unrelenting – you physically don’t have a choice but to go with it.
These Boulder, CO guys have been cultivating their style for years and with the recent addition of a live drummer, their intensity is at an all time high but so is their musicality. They are true champions of what I call the “Colorado sound”: rhythmic, hyped-up, heavy on the downbeat and technically excellent. The range of influences that Gray Smith, Ben Eberdt and Mike Kelly draw upon is as evident as it has ever been on their new music. By now you’ve probably heard the part-time banger “Gin and Chronic”, but other new sounds have a disco, groovy feel that I can’t wait to delve into more. Incorporating live drums, bass and guitar—the musicality and lyricism is much more present.
The set list touched on all of the good stuff. From old anthems to new adventures, the party was all over the place. They settled into heavy, creeping grooves with “Prey For New York” and “Nothing Stays The Same”. Their colorful opener Bright Lights joined the trio for several songs, including the MASSIVE crowd-favorite “So Bad”. The crowd was going absolutely loco – there could have been an earthquake and I’m not sure I would have even noticed. Some of my favorite moments were “Kidz” and “Hard To Say”, which are two of the most banger-ist bangers off of 2013’s Personal Legend. Grinding, grimy bass drone and automatic weapon style riffs brought their characteristic edge.
I love the way they incorporate remixing other songs into their music – sometimes a cadence from another song is the back bone to a Savoy creation. But it’s never imitation, it’s always something new. When I snapped out of dance-fueled psychosis, I registered that they were re-working Die Antwoord’s “Fok Julie Naaiers”….and it was soo good. I wish they’d go real deep one of these days and pull out “Get Some Action” but nah.
Savoy has succeeded in redefining the typical live music experience. Their lasers and production is one of the most impressive displays of light and music working together to become something larger. Standing behind the sound booth, I watched the laser guy literally play his light board. Sorry, Mom. I’m have a new life dream. We didn’t take many videos, but there are a few clips below. This was the first stop on a huge tour, so check out the dates below and make sure that you catch these guys doing their magic. Here’s hoping they play the hell out of their new material. There is much promise on the Savoy front.