Les Savy Fav played their first show back in the (semi) after times on Sunday 9/12 at Market Hotel which was also their first hometown show since early 2019. Like any LSF show, it was a doozy and came with all the crowd interaction, outfit changes and antics fans know and love from them. Lead singer Tim Harrington absolutely did not disappoint and definitely didn’t hold back, much to the delight of the fans.
The audience did lean a bit to the older side, more middle aged punk and indie heads like me than a wild young bunch, so things never got too out of hand crowd wise. People were having fun and dancing, there was a good helping of sweat and spilled beer too as one would expect, but a full on mosh pit that would have had me hiding in a corner with my camera never broke out much to my relief. This is not to say it was not an active crowd because it very much was, and I ran around a lot dodging people to get shots, but it was an overall chill vibe at the same time. It is always very nice to be able to “get into it” but also not have to worry if I’m going to get hurt or my camera mangled. I joked to my friends at the show that it was “old people rowdy” (which I can because I am old!) and I can really dig a show that is active and fun like this, but not ridiculous and unsafe for smaller folks/non men/photographers who want to be up front and enjoy.
Heavy Lag opened and walloped the crowd with their infectious raw garagey power pop, quickly and easily winning them over. The band is relatively new on the scene as a unit, but the individual members are veterans of several other Brooklyn punk bands, most notably some old friends and favorites, Ellen and the Degenerates. They may have the “new band” label, but they all bring a lot of experience to the table and have the songwriting chops to back it up. Thus far they have been busy and pushing full speed ahead, releasing a string of singles- the latest being the fuzzy bouncing “Ditch My Shadow,“- and have more shows coming up, the next being on 9/28 at Brooklyn Monarch (with Get Dead and Make War). They also have winter recording plans to get their first full length ready. I’ve really loved the two shows I’ve been at so far (see pics from a recent show here) and was really happy for them to get such a great opportunity to open for Les Savy Fav. I too am very ready for the upcoming album; this is definitely a band to keep an eye on.
Les Savy Fav started their set a few minutes late but didn’t leave fans waiting too long fortunately; Harrington arrived on stage in peak form with a broom and in an alien mask which he soon shed along with his shirt (several times over). I have been listening to them for over 15 years at this point (and even have a Frenchkiss Records logo tattoo which I showed Syd at the merch table; He very much appreciated that and very generously gave me some free swag), yet somehow this was my first time seeing them since life and other things always seemed to find ways to keep me from missing past shows.
Les Savy Fav at Market Hotel
I knew it would be a wild time as I had definitely seen videos over the years but had yet to experience it myself firsthand. That was soon put to rest as I was very quickly initiated into the fold with Harrington jumping off the stage and freak dancing with me within the first five minutes of the show (ha!). A wonderful introduction to the weird world and total experience of a Les Savy Fav show if I do say so myself! Their set list ranged throughout their catalog, and I was particularly excited getting to hear “Hold Onto Your Genre,” and “Meet Me Where the Sweat Descends,” both songs from 2004’s Inches, the singles 1995-2004 collection, which has long been one of my favorite albums.
The band was locked in super tight with each other on stage- the rhythm section pulsing, the guitars shimmering and echoing- playing almost stoically behind Harrington in their signature way while he continuously climbed on amps, poked them, jumped around and repeatedly worked the crowd; I ran from front to back of the venue more than once keeping up with him! When editing the pictures, it was hard to pare some of it down too because I captured so many antics and so many shots of him being the incredible performer that he is, how do you decide?! I didn’t even catch all of it because just so much was going on overall and I needed to take breaks at times, but still had so much to work with. All that is to say that, aside from being a great live act, they really are a dream band for a photographer; I love when it’s a push and pull and I have to work and react on a dime to things rather than just standing there pointing my camera at the stage.
It was an absolutely electrifying show and I really found myself so immersed in being in that space. And even though things were moving so quickly and the energy was so high, when they started to wind down and then finished, I was disappointed and thought to myself “wait really it’s already over?” because it felt like things were just beginning even still at the end of the night. But it was indeed the end and the band walked off stage to happy cheers and applause (they also did not return for an encore) from a crowd that was very pleased to get to have a night like this again after so long of not being able to do things like this. I am very sorry for myself that I waited so long to see them play for the first time, but I definitely will not make the mistake of not prioritizing whenever their next show is.
And very early the next morning when I got up for a freelance job that required me to leave my house before sunrise, I knew no matter what aches and pains I was feeling in that moment, I was still buzzing with excitement and had been EXACTLY where I needed to be the night before.
Scroll down for pics of the show (photos by Kate Hoos)
LES SAVY FAV