Les Savy Fav
London Electric Ballroom
Photo: Chico Hooke
Well, better late than never. Les Savy Fav have been visiting our shores for at least a decade, but it is only tonight – after previously missing out for various reasons – that I will finally clap eyes on the gloriously unhinged NYC art-rockers. Their shows – and in particular, the actions of vocalist Tim Harrington – are fast becoming the stuff of legend, but as far as LSF are concerned, it’s best to expect the unexpected.
I thought The Bronx were a crazy bunch, but they have nothing on these guys. There aren’t many bands around whose singer would start their set by dressing in pyjamas and pretending to doze off on a table placed in the centre of the stage. Said table gives way just as Harrington’s bandmates arrive, and all hell breaks loose in the crowd as they rip into ‘Excess Energies’, the band’s abrasive sound providing a suitably visceral soundtrack for the madness that unfolds.
Whatever Harrington is on, I want some. During the rare moments that he’s actually onstage, he’s busy tearing nipple holes in his t-shirt, climbing around the lighting rig like some kind of punk rock gorilla, or even piggybacking his band’s guitarists onto upturned monitors whilst simultaneously bellowing his way through ‘The Sweat Descends’. Most of the time, he’s romping around the venue with a wide-eyed sense of adventure, engaging in all manner of random anecdotes and chats with the audience, who rightfully greet him as one of their own.
You’d think that all these antics would somewhat distract from the music, but the band’s ‘Root For Ruin’ album is arguably one of this year’s finest, and the likes of ‘Appetites’ and the understated ‘Sleepless In Silverlake’ sound superb tonight. Ultimately, Les Savy Fav’s main strengths lie in their songs, their fan-friendly approach, and their ability to put on a fantastic show that without resorting to any clichéd pyro/explosions nonsense. Check them out whilst you can – this is genius of the most demented kind.