Les Savy Fav @ Cargo
Les Savy Fav.
Shoreditch Cargo. 10sep10.
“So what are you going to sing for me, then”, says Suzanne to Les Savy Fav’s bald, bearded and bellied singer Tim Harrington. Not unreasonably, you might think, but, thing is, Suzanne hasn’t paid to get in.
However, you might want to temper the haste of your indignation and opprobrium as, to be fair to Suzanne, the reason she hasn’t paid to get in is, well, because she isn’t ‘in’. She is celebrating her birthday in the bar adjacent to Cargo’s live room, and Tim has gone on one of his many walkabouts.
After aborting the attempt to commandeer one of her helium-filled festive balloons, he reveals his identity as the singer from next door and she makes her request into the mic. Naturally, “Happy Birthday To You” is forthcoming, with accompaniment from a couple of hundred hidden punters currently bobbing about on tip-toe but essentially staring at the back of a partition curtain.
On this occasion, he comes back through with nothing new to hand but on a previous visit, he had returned to view walking gingerly whilst balancing a rust-hued whisky glass containing a tea-light on his damp, glistening pate.
This is pretty standard fare for a Les Savy Fav live show, bassist Syd Butler’s crowd surf with instrument later in the set merely a cherry upon his singer’s wanderlusting cake.
Harrington prowls the stage, indeed the entire venue, like a bloodthirsty 19th century Russian sailor hunting down fresh competition at a bareknuckle club in Omsk. Or perhaps like an artist trying to seek out the bloke who leaked his band’s album online, requiring them to rush release the official version. The latter would at least represent Les Savy Fav’s recent experience.
At the start of this set, Harrington appears from inside a giant white inflatable sphere wearing pink sunglasses, a beret, leg warmers on each arm and an orange fake fur poncho, however he is soon down to just a set of yellow briefs that, and I’m being gentle to your mind’s eye here, have seen better days. However this is what Fav punters pay to see, a solid boo greeting his return to trouser.
Thankfully for all this play-time, there is plenty tuneage, and tight playing from the rest of the band. Neither is it one-dimensional bluster either, with the tip-up-and-blam aspects counter-balanced by agile alt.rock guitar (as on Patty Lee) and songs which can often have as much of a pop tilt as a hardcore one.
This was supposed to be a low-key album launch show but, really, how low key can a Les Savy Fav show ever really be?