Just three songs in, singer Tim Harrington suspended himself upside down like some deranged punk orangutan from the 15-foot balcony of Manhattan’s Bowery Ballroom Saturday evening (Sept. 22), trusting a few fans to hold him in place while he screeched a string of abrasive lyrics.
These types of madman stage antics are commonplace for the post punk-inspired outfit, Les Savy Fav. Dresses, lime-green whitey tighteys, water spitting, Harrington was a circus. And the funny part is, the rest of the band has perfected their distance from it, completely honing out any type of chaos, even if its baldheaded frontman crashes into them.
Back in full force from a kind of lazy two-year hiatus with sporadic shows and little to no studio time, Les Savy Fav opened with a new cut from their first full-length record in six years, Let’s Stay Friends, called “The Equestrian,” transporting the time back to ’80s hardcore, with a throat shredding chorus — “You make me shake / You make me shiver” — and a furious snare drum charge that stirred up a floor-wide mosh pit.
To keep this manic level of energy up, LSF played an equal set of six new album tracks and six oldies, some going as far back as 1999’s anthemic party-rock “Scout’s Honor” and the idiosyncratic “Yawn, Yawn, Yawn,” Harrington spitting, “Yawn, Yawn, Yawn we’re all long gone / If we get lucky we’ll be dead by dawn / So let’s get it on,” while whipping two microphones over his head, sometimes throwing them into the crowd for fans to share lyrics.
After closing with a mass-pogo-ing rendition of “Who Rocks the Party,” in which the band would not go on with the song unless the entire house got on the ground, Harrington offered SPIN.com some words of clarification. “We thrive on being confused,” Harrington said. “So actually being genuinely confused, instead of having to force yourself to sort of contrively confuse yourself …feels fun, feels cool …we are a profoundly self-indulgent band.”
We asked: Les Savy Fav has been said to mean a number of things — “wild beasts,” “the capable,” pure nonsense — but there’s no official translation. Put on your awesome French translator cap and tell us what it means, in your words.