Les Savy Fav
with Flight 121
The Covered Dish, Gainesville, FL • October 19, 1999
Nathan T. Birk
Lately, it’s not often that budding indie-rock sensations come through Gainesville, much less the Covered Dish. And, sadly, keeping with the general apathy attendant of such a situation, few people showed up to witness one of those last sensations, Les Savy Fav.
Flight 121, a relatively new local band, opened the show with a promising six-song set, but “promising” is the operative word here. The trio compacted an array of elements, all generally falling under the emo-lite/slo-core umbrella, into its aesthetic construct; however, few of those elements needed to be explored. Instead, the band should’ve nurtured those wallow-in-your-drink moments, ala Codeine or Red House Painters, as they did so well during their cathartic closer, “My Last Breath of Swiss Air.” Granted, Flight 121’s twinkly emo moments were well-executed, and surely would appeal to fans of Christie Front Drive and early Boys Life; that soggy ground, though, has been tread a million times now, thanks(?) to Sunny Day Real Estate. If you’re ever in town, keep an eye on these guys.
With such a scant audience for Les Savy Fav, it’s probably safe to say no one (myself included) knew what to expect, and consequently, what they were getting themselves into. In any case, that proved all the better when the Brooklyn quintet stepped up and kicked out the jams. Touring in support of their absolutely enthralling second album, The Cat and the Cobra , Les Savy Fav are one of the precious few bands around who know how to work two guitars, often approximating the Pixies on really bad drugs (speedballs, maybe?). Subtly cool and detached, the band literally rocked from the hip, punching out one skewed anti-anthem after another, every instrument colliding with each other but remaining on the same trajectory of chaos. And speaking of skewed, there’s vocalist Tim Harrington, an acerbic frontman who’s as absurd as he is commanding. Resplendent in poofy, white hi-tops, Harrington hypnotized — or, more so, scared — the audience with dance moves that can only be “summarized” as a praying mantis being electrocuted-meets-a gay cheerleader — idiot savantry at its finest. As one of the Fav’s songs ironically asks, “Who rocks the party that rocks the body?” Quite simple, really. Don’t ever miss these guys again.