Les Savy Fav. Live at Moho Live, Manchester. 24/02/2011

Review by Joss Worthington

How does one even begin to describe a Les Savy Fav gig? Tonight will be the fourth time I’ve seen the Brooklyn quintet in less than three years and each time I’ve been left astounded, amazed and bewildered. Lead singer Tim Harrington is like the devil’s own instrument of chaos sent forth to fuck with the heads of an unsuspecting indie rock crowd.

Nobody in the venue is safe. At previous gigs I’ve witnessed him jump out of windows, bugger stage invaders, dress up as Godzilla and try to have sex with a loaf of bread.  I’m not even scratching the surface here, the list goes on and on. He spends the majority of the show circumnavigating the audience, semi naked, sweat streaming off of his mad monk visage; screaming down the mic like a rabid John the Baptist.

Tonight is no exception. He enters the stage adorned in a cape and wig, holding aloft a sword that appears to be meticulously constructed from Stella Artois packaging.  He manages to keep on stage for nearly a whole minute before launching himself over the barrier into the crowd. Placing himself in the heart of the mosh pit he begins tonight’s maelstrom by knighting audience members with the sacred Sword of Stella.

Literally, nobody is safe, least of all myself, who is subjected to a full on man snog from the bearded beast of a man. It’s hard to know what to do as an audience member.  Speaking from experience I would suggest drinking as much alcohol as possible and going with the flow. Which definitely appears to be the consensus tonight as the eager throng assist their ringleader with the dismantling of the stage barrier.

But what about the music I hear you ask? Well, despite the chaos off stage, in contrast the remaining onstage members hold down the songs with deft accuracy. ‘We’ll Make a Lover of You’ and ‘The Sweat Descends’ sound as strong as ever while ‘What Would Wolves Do’ and ‘Sleepless in Silverlake’ demonstrate their capability of crafting three minute pop songs. One wonders if the other band members get frustrated when the Tim Harrington show at times detracts from the songs but they seem to enjoy themselves regardless.

At this point I could probably say something poncey about Tim Harrington deconstructing the barriers (literally) between artist and audience. On a certain level this is true, but where Les Savy Fav excel the most is in their ability to make each show seem unique and spontaneous.

Each gig they play seems like a memorable event and in a live music scene that is becoming increasingly polluted by regurgitated reunion tours and bands cashing in whilst they can, a band like this should be cherished.

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