Les Savy Fav in Sheffield: beard-core

One of my favorite bands hit Sheffield recently. The last time they were nearby it was in Manchester and I missed them for a date with a girl who only now, having finally seen Les Savy Fav, can I truly stop resenting. If you like rock and you miss LSF when they’re in your town, you’re a complete and utter quentin.

Appropriately awesome LSF poster by Laura Siragher

Appropriately awesome LSF poster by Laura Siragher

If you’re new to LSF I personally recommend that you start your adventure with their collection of 7″s, the appropriately named ‘Inches‘. I did. That got me hooked. Although that’s not to say their latest album ‘Root for Ruin‘ isn’t maintaining the quality I’ve come to expect. But I’m not going to focus on that. I think a great contrast to LSF would be another recent Sheffield Corporation gig; Melissa Auf Der Maur. Like LSF, more than competent musicians with a history of awesome albums. Another personal favorite. But when she played in town, it was a pretty damn disappointing delivery. Full marks for turning up, but that’s it. I know Sheffield isn’t the biggest town on the tour, but we like music too (if I was a music journalist I’d insert a quote from Reverend and the Makers here… but I’m better than that so no). I’ve paid my 15 quid. LSF, in contrast, got a nice A++ for effort. Why?

How to sell records in 2011

Since the gig, I’ve been imagining LSF are the sort of band who know how live music has to work in this time of mp3s, crappy laptop speakers and a fanbase who just won’t leave the house. A live show needs to bring it, and LSF brought it big time. Whilst I’d personally be perfectly happy to go to Corporation and see them perform a technically good set, LSF know this isn’t enough. They’ve heard of this thing called ‘showmanship’. It is their best weapon against pretentious tedious gigs, and their delivery system comes in the form of a big ball of bearded power: front-man Tim Harrington. Don’t get me wrong, LSF don’t need gimmicks and would be A-ok without Harringtons presence, but the energy that the bearded-one brings to the room is immense. If you’re standing near the back of the room and the lyrics are being delivered right into your face (literally)… that’s a show. That’s value for money. That’s the sort of effort that makes it worth getting out and supporting a band.

Les Savy Fav frontman connects with fans

Connecting with fans

Harrington made the grimy floors of Corp his bitch. He roamed the room doing questionable things with bananas (whilst singing the Banana boat song, naturally), slowly loosing layers of clothing. It was not sexy, but it was sexual. He climbed through the room, over bars and ledges. Fans held up the thick microphone chord that trailed behind him so he could connect with others. Musically. Physically. Emotionally. I’d seen such behavior from LSF on YouTube at big US outdoor shows. I thought, “Sure, they put the effort in when it’s a big show back home, but will they really bother in some northern city they’ve probably never heard of?” Well I was wrong. They did and they deserve credit for it. This was one of the best gigs I’ve ever been to.

Interpol don’t give a shit

Often when American bands come to town they blatantly don’t care. I’m looking at you, Interpol. It’s another box ticked and they slump on stage, looking cool but ultimately lifeless. Not LSF. They obviously believe in live music. This gig was part of a tour organized by the DrownedInSound people. I hope everyone felt that Sheffield was a worthwhile stop, because we enjoyed it. Probably almost as much as Tim Harringtons greengrocer.


One Response to “Les Savy Fav in Sheffield: beard-core”

  1. Rich Says:

    I love the crowd of envious ageing hipsters in the background. I can imagine each and every person in that picture walking down the high street wearing massive headphones round their necks and carrying a record bag.

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