Les Savy Fav, Corporation 27.02.11
Before we get on to the most ludicrous live show on Earth, Young Legionnaire, who support tonight, deserve a mention.
They’re probably the best British rock band to emerge since the heyday of Hell Is For Heroes and Hundred Reasons. They get their crushing, riotous experimentalism from frontman Paul Mullen’s previous job in Yourcodenameis:milo, with heaving bass provided, somewhat surreally, by Bloc Party’s Gordon Moakes.
This is undisputedly Les Savy Fav’s gig though. They play punk with an arty smear and a ruthless spirit, but that’s barely a fraction of their appeal. Les Savy Fav is a travelling freak show, and the name of their freak is Tim Harrington.
The bearded, bloated, balding vocalist hobbles onstage in his pyjamas, complaining of a bad back. But fears of an uncharacteristically restrained performance are soon forgotten. Within minutes Harrington is amongst the crowd, yelling in people’s faces. One man has his glasses stolen by the singer, who briefly sexually assaults him.
A short time later, Harrington is forcing a male audience member to fellate a magician’s wand, before inserting it into his own asshole. Crude and childish? Yes, but the sublime anarchy that Harrington creates makes Les Savy Fav unlike any other live act.
For many bands, performing live is a routine. For Les Savy Fav it is a chance to cause mayhem, to challenge their audience in the most invasive way possible, reminding them that rock should be anything but predictable. It is funny, pioneering and drags punk rock into modernity.