In 1987, I was a sophomore at Carnegie Mellon excited by all the music being exposed by the innovative, forward-thinking college DJs at WRCT-FM. One of those was my friend Norm Veenstra, who had a particular interest in dark-tinged rock and began to bring some of the bands to Pittsburgh that we liked to spin on the air.
That resulted in a riveting outdoor performance by seminal Los Angeles band Savage Republic, who combined dark Joy Division-esque postpunk with tribal industrial rhythms on blazing 55-gallon oil drums and Middle-Eastern
influenced guitar melodies run through surfy reverb. The effect was unequalled by any other American band at the time, and comparable to legendary UK bands such as Killing Joke, as well as later imitators such as Godspeed You
Savage Republic existed from 1981 to 1989, releasing four amazing albums – Tragic Figures, Ceremonial, Jamahiriya, and Customs – and then breaking up to do various other bands. During their existence, they
were known for their staunch independent attitude and their amazing letterpress album covers and postage stamps. In 2002, the band reunited to headline the “Beyond the Pale” festival hosted by the well-known
art-metal band Neurosis in San Francisco. Now, they have gotten back together to record new material for release on Neurosis’ label, Neurot Recordings (also home of Isis). Their upcoming tour includes only a handful of US dates, and Pittsburgh is lucky enough to be one of them.
To see this band again after 20 years will be an unbelievable experience, one that should not be missed!
Savage Republic will perform on Friday February 16 at 8 pm, at the Lawrenceville Moose, 51st & Butler Sts. in Lawrenceville.
Opening the all ages show (21+ to drink) will be Microwaves and Mike Tamburo.
Tickets are $18 at the door, $15 advance at Paul’s CDs, Eide’s Entertainment, Dave’s Music Mine, Caliban Books, Brave New World, Record Village, and The Exchange Squirrel Hill.