Les Savy Fav, Emo's, October 27

Live Shots

Les Savy Fav

Emo's, October 27

"It's gonna be a great night!" he said, over and over, from behind a bushy red beard and gold-toned, Seventies-era aviator shades. Dressed as a sensitive and sensible New Ager, Tim Harrington, lead singer of the Brooklyn quintet Les Savy Fav, misled the close-packed Emo's crowd into thinking they were in for a touchy-feely healing session. "It's gonna be a great night!" he screamed from behind a scary, plastered smile as the song built in volume and intensity behind him, and the other four members of the group played hard and tight, ignoring the antics of their gregarious leader as they always do. The lead-in turned to "Reformat," a raucous and plodding tune off the band's new The Cat and the Cobra, from which most of the set was culled. Because of the post-1am start time, they skipped playing their own self-immolating anthem, and despite the fact that Emo's small indoor stage offered insufficient space for Harrington's normal imbecilic acrobatics, the quintet still delivered a show charged with enough infectious energy and powerful hooks to keep folks hooting and head-bobbing until well after 2am. In fact, Les Savy Fav turned the blank and sleepy slate of the Emo's audience into a thoroughly enchanted roomful of fans. Hair unslicked, shades and overshirt discarded, Harrington ran and flailed around the stage and room like a sugar-filled kid with attention deficit disorder, climbing on the speaker cabinets, turning pooltable lamps into spotlights, and belting out lyrics with the force and joy of someone who's found his true calling. His melodic shout pitted against the formidable rhythm section and tight, searing guitars combined for a sound and odd-timed style as unique and memorable as anyone still standing in indie rock, and "Dishonest Don Part II" and "Who Rocks the Party?" showed that the band's second LP is well worth the considerable wait. If only they had started sooner and played longer ...

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