Les Savy Fav @ Mezzanine, San Francisco- March 1, 2009

Les Savy Fav

w/ The Mae Shi & The Drums

Mezzanine, San Francisco, CA

March 1st, 2009

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The Noise Pop Festival is a god-send for a music geek like me- free or cheap shows, awesome talent, all in one week, all in the same city. What else do you need? I figured after Deerhunter and No Age, this show on the final night of the festival may just be a bit of a let down.

I couldn’t have been more wrong.

First off, I got there for the end of The Drums‘ set, which is basically two guys killing their drum sets. In the best possible way- it was like a drum circle gone completely right. If you’ve ever been to a drum circle (and you don’t use drugs) they are the most god-awful boring collection of burn-out hippie LSD casualties who can’t stay in rhythm for more than nine seconds, and that’s if you’re lucky. This was a freak fest between two dudes with heavily processed vocal effects as they beat the shit out of their skins. Rad.

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Next up, and I have to admit I didn’t know what to expect from The Mae Shi. I first checked these guys out last year after their last album, Hlllyh, got a ton of great reviews- I basically said “meh”. Then I checked them out again after I interviewed fellow LA-scensters Mega Wand a few weeks ago. I was still on the fence.

Well, not anymore. One of the best live performances I’ve ever seen; I don’t wanna say they stole the spotlight from Les Savy Fav, but they came close. I knew what to expect from the LSF, so they were delightfully rocking with hi-jinks a-plenty and all that- I’ve seen a ton of Tim Harrington‘s craziness on the YouTube, so it was delivered as promised. But The Mae Shi I knew nothing of- and they fucking rocked.

I don’t know what they call their music; I’d call it electro-pop spazzcore because it was completely beyond anything I’d seen (at least in person); totally interactive, wandering down into the crowd, covering the crowd with this huge parachute (it must’ve looked cool from the balcony, I was underneath that shizz, yo), taking apart the drum set during a song and re-assembling it on the left side of the stage, just fucking crazy and entertaining.

I’ve been going over their bio, and this band has gone through more line-up changes in the last five years than, shit- I can’t think of a band that’s only been around a short time and gone through so many members; I think eight or nine it looks like. The current line-up (this may be a mistake) is Jonathan Gray on lead vocals and keyboards, Jeff Byron on guitar and vocals, Tim Byron handling the bass (and vocals) and Brad Breeck manning the drums. Is that right?

Anyway, I’m a fan now. I just saw that they’re playing 15 shows in four days at the SXSW Festival in Austin. That’s amazing.

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Now on to Les Savy Fav– I kept thinking, “how do they top that?” referring to The Mae Shi‘s awesomeness. They didn’t need to top it- they did something completely different. Tim Harrington is fucking hilarious.

Dude comes on stage wrapped in toilet paper carrying a six-pack of Corona…

…the rest of what happened is here:

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Setlist:

What Would Wolves Do?

The Equestrian

Patty Lee

The Slip

Yawn Yawn Yawn

We’ll Make A Lover Of You

Hold On To Your Genre

Pills

Je T’aime

Dishonest Don Part 2

The Lowest Bitter

ENCORE:

Raging In The Plague Age

Who Rocks The Party

Les Savy Fav is Tim Harrington– Vocals, Seth Jabour– Guitar, Harrison Haynes– Drums, Syd Butler– Bass and Andrew Reuland– Guitar