details: Les Savy Fav | Steel Tigers of Death | The Absolute Monarchs @ Neumo’s in Seattle 12/5
review: Jason Kinnard | photos: Alex Crick
Where do I even start to begin describing this one? Hell, I’m not even sure I could script something as utterly insane and fun as a Les Savy Fav show. In fact, I’ll go on the record and say that Tim Harrington might be commanding one of the best live shows in America right now. We’ve seen unbelievable performances from Les Savy Fav in the past at festivals like Sasquatch and the Capitol Hill Block Party, but nowhere is Harrington more in his element than a small sweaty club like Neumo’s. Whoever put this bill together should be commended, these were 3 fantastic bands in one night. The Absolute Monarchs were a fantastically loud and local opener that I enjoyed watching for the first time at the Cha Cha earlier in the year, they sounded even better in the much bigger room at Neumo’s. I’m pretty sure that guy serves me drinks somewhere….
THE ABSOLUTE MONARCHS
Next up was another much loved local band: Steel Tigers of Death. Taking just about every Punk Rock influence you can imagine and making a mockery of it, the band uses hilarious outfits, stage names, and ridiculous stage banter to keep the crowd smiling and the energy high. The show started oddly enough with a woman putting fake fluffy cotton snow all over the front of the stage monitors, the crowd, microphones, and various other pieces of band equipment. This was quickly followed up with White Christmas lights strung along the front of the stage and various cords that seemed to have no other real purpose. The band came on stage dressed in white sheets, angel wings, and matching halo’s, with white LED Christmas lights strung underneath their flowing white sheets. They played a blistering set of quick punk songs before stripping down and finishing off in skin tight solid gold booty shorts. Punk Rock, Seattle style…
STEEL TIGERS OF DEATH
And now the awkward switch to “solid gold booty shorts”…..
And finally, we were ready for the highlight of the evening: Les Savy Fav. First of all, I really hope there were some people in the crowd who have never seen Tim Harrington in action before. I especially hope those same people were right up front to see it up close. What had seemed like an almost alarmingly sparse crowd when the doors first opened quickly filled to capacity, and there was no way you were getting close to the front if you weren’t there already (we were in our usual front right spot against the stage). What had started as a tame evening quickly turned into a semi messy mosh-pit affair. Click & Dagger and the Deadly Viper Photo Squad were up close in the danger zone to cover all the action.
Harrington’s band (the rest of which look remarkably normal and competent) took the stage just after 11, followed shortly by the bearded wild-man himself. Entering the stage with a huge plastic horse’s head, a bag of apples, and various other props, he immediately puts all the apples into his horse’s mouth, chews, and proceeds to spitting the chunks out at the first few rows. Someone in the crowd shakes a beer and sprays the entire front crowd, and from that moment on, it was pure insanity. It takes a lot to move a Seattle crowd on a Sunday night but Les Savy Fav made it look effortless. I’m not sure I’ve smiled and laughed so hard at a show in a while, and at the end of the day isn’t that what it’s all about? Within 1 song, Harrington had jumped into the packed crowd, wrapped his microphone cord around just about everyone, made people sing, jumped up into the mezzanine area above the right of the stage, and climbed back down the big red curtains and into the crowd again; microphone still in hand and never missing a beat. With Harrington on stage and Crick and I pushed up against the stage, he casually hands his microphone to Alex, takes off his shirt, and then begins to unleash more mayhem. Apples are whipped into the crowd (some half-eaten), chunks are spit back at him, and the first of more than a few beer bottles and empty beer cans start landing on the stage. It’s a slightly dangerous unpredictability that starts taking over the crowd and we are eating up every second of it. I think we spent just as much time facing away from the stage as we did towards the stage. I can’t even begin to describe the hilarious in between song banter other than to tell you Harrington was in rare form.
LES SAVY FAV
And he was just getting started with apples in the crotch (subsequently crammed in people’s mouths and eaten)
He picked through these people’s hair like a monkey:
Someone threw a “too small” bra on stage, of course Harrington had to wear it. With a little help of course:
p.s. We loved this woman’s spirit, but I sure hope you didn’t make out with her…
Here’s Harrington starting to eat the fake cotton snow and cram it down his pants. This is after he stole the lovely white knitted hat of the girl standing behind us. You might want to get that Dry Cleaned…
And a decorative scarf that landed on the stage. He wore it for a song and then promptly returned it to it’s owner.
Here he is playing the microphone as a flute:
Here’s that band we were telling you about. Normal looking chaps.
Here he is drinking water from a dirty glove that landed on stage. He just threw the rest at us…
Les Savy Fav played a ridiculous encore set that finished with crowd favorite “Sweat Descends”. At this point of the night, that seemed pretty appropriate. The place starts to fill with smoke as Harrington lays on the fog machine button dressed in some sort of satanic cow outfit as he whips the crowd into one last frenzy before stripping down to his trademark underwear and ending the show…
Next time Les Savy Fav comes to your city, take an unsuspecting friend and put him right up front. Tim Harrington will take care of the rest. Please enjoy the entire photo set on the Viper Squad Flickr page HERE.