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Cash Savage and The Last Drinks continue to keep their live audiences guessing

There's no one quite like the magnetic Cash Savage.

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Image source: 
Anna Madden

Frequent gig-goers are accustomed to the well-versed particulars of an evening with a band; the curation of tracks new and old, some light banter between songs and of course, the unspoken rule that there will be an encore.
 
So when Cash Savage announces that her and her band, The Last Drinks, will play through to the end of their setlist without the façade of leaving the stage only to reappear moments later as the audience feign surprise, it’s refreshing to say the least.
 
It’s the eve of the Victorian state election vote and the tension in the air is palpable. Savage’s latest release, Good Citizens is rife with political discourse and a glaringly obvious disapproval for the shitty status quo to which our society succumbs, so the impending flex of the country’s democratic muscle is ever-present in the room.
 
“This song is about how fucked up the world is and how the vote tomorrow won’t make a fucking difference,” she declares before launching into an apocalyptic execution of ‘Collapse’, spitting out each word as if they are a bad taste in her mouth. The shuddering rhythm ground to a sudden halt as Savage shouted “rich white men” into the jarringly silent room.
 
By now, violinist Kat Mear’s bow is a blur of flailing, frayed hairs. Savage and her six-piece band are almost in perfect unison, despite barely glancing at one another as they pace their positions. Sauntering the stage with a deadpan stare throughout the set, Savage’s gaze is uncomfortable – looking down the barrel as if defying you to pull the trigger.
 
Savage had the crowd eating out of her hand, throwing back Melbourne Bitters while leafing through a selection of tracks from her latest album such as ‘Pack Animals’, ‘Sunday’ and ‘Found You’, as well as an assortment of less recent offerings including ‘Hypnotiser’ and ‘Do You Feel Loved’.
 
There are no theatrics at play, just pure, raw power as the tight-knit group unfurl their fury onto the audience. Cash Savage and The Last Drinks needn’t employ rigorously rehearsed dance routines or sophisticated lighting effects to amplify their performance – the force of the words and Savage’s unrelenting stare are enough to keep all eyes transfixed.
 
At the tail end of the evening, Savage reiterates there will be “no fucking encore”, just in case anyone thought her initial warning was an invitation to cheer harder for “one more song” once the stage had emptied, and the crowd appears more than happy to oblige. Savage’s defiance of an uninspired gig format is nothing if not an invigoratingly triumphant success.
 
Highlight: Savage calling out pre-planned encores for what they are: a bullshit waste of time.
 
Lowlight: Punters with absolutely no spatial awareness.
 
Crowd Favourite: ‘Good Citizens’.