Once again, a late night at work prevented me from seeing the opening band Schneider TM. One of these days I'm going to call in sick, leave early, hire a stunt double, or, why not, quit my job, just to finally see an opening band. Anyway I went to Schneider TM's web site at work the next day, but my boss walked in at that moment and I had to quickly click away to a customer service lead sheet I was 'processing.' Work continues to stymie my efforts to learn anything at all about this band.
When Shannon and I walked into the Showbox, Les Savy Fav were already tearing up the stage. The band was loud. Super-loud. One of the loudest shows I've been to in a long time. And the slam dancing was taking us back! Sigh. Bearded vocalist Tim Harrington was dripping him sweat and making so much noise, but at the same time he had this very collected air about him. You almost couldn't see him workin' it — you got the sense that he was sweaty because it was sauna-hot at the Showbox, not because he was going berserk onstage.
Ten within ten: Let's say you wanted to describe what Les Savy Fav sounded like. You could describe them according to these ten band t-shirts actually seen worn by LSS fans at the show:
Rocket From The Crypt.
Girls Vs. Boys.
Minor Threat (note: we looked for a Fugazi shirt but this was as close as we got).
…And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead (maybe not so much, but I think you'd also find these same ten t-shirts at a Trail of Dead show, so that must count for something).
The Jesus Lizard
Breeders  (again, we looked for the Pixies, but who wears a Pixies shirt? For that matter, who wears a new Breeders shirt? The tall squinty guy who looked like he wears glasses but left them at home, that's who!).
Shellac (I thought drummer Harrison Haynes kinda looked like Steve Albini, but Shannon said "no way")
R.E.O. Speedwagon (ok no, but this shirt looked legit, not a Hot Topic reprint, so props to (I'm guessing, the older sister of) the blonde woman with the red skirt).
Les Savy Fav
Les Savy Fav have been touring non-stop for well over a year: their last album Go Forth (French Kiss) came out in October 2001! They rocked with telepathic-precision. They totally could have bent spoons backwards if they wanted to, with their collective mind.
We heard frontman Tim Harrington say something to the effect of 'this is a new song' at least three times. This tells us Les Savy Fav are writing new songs while touring. This tells us that they are going to release a new full-length soon. The massive new songs at the show tells us that this new album is going to mop the proverbial freaking floor with the crappy cd's everybody already owns. Seriously, when Rhode Island-born and Brooklyn-based Les Savy Fav started out in the mid-90's, the New York city music scene wasn't getting near the attention that it has been since the Strokes' "Is This It?" broke bigger than the Backstreet Boys. The new-wave of post-Srokes NYC bands (Interpol, the Liars, the Walkmen, the Rapture, you name it) have all been warming up the press way nicely for the new Les Savy Fav album, when the Fav shows all them upstarts how it's done.
Les Savy Fav were sweaty. We kinda wanted them to sweat on us. In fact, my neck was sore and I had this feeling that sweat from LSS had restorative powers. But I was afraid to go into the pit with the mini-flashlight pen and the notebook I brought with me to take the notes that you're reading right now. The bulbs in the mini-flashlight pens are not all that hardy. Neither am I, for that matter.
The Faint were the evening's headliners, and it was a thrill to see them. The (currently) five-piece started from Omaha's primordial emo-ooze to evolve somehow into Nebraska's own Nine Inch Nails, moody and robotic but brazen — like the dorky kid at the middle school dance who wasn't afraid to frug to "Just Like Heaven" all alone. At the show I bought the brand new Faint remix cd Danse Macabre Remixes (Astralwerks) to compare it to their excellent 2001 release Danse Macabre (Saddle Creek) when I got home. The good-to-excellent remixes by DJ's and producers like Photek and Paul Oakenfold proves further that Omaha's current blooms are enjoying an influence far wider than its modest Midwest emo roots suggest.
By the time the Faint started playing, the pit that had formed in front of Les Savy Fav had dissolved. The Faint brought more visuals — they performed in front of two giant video screens, and it seemed like the crowd wanted to watch more so than get rowdy. The video screens showed arty clips, colors and shadows, and often, close-ups of the band members themselves. That gave the show a big arena feel. Perfectly narcissistic for such a preening, pouty (but pretty) group.
Keyboard player Jacob Thiele wore a scoop neck shirt! Scoop-neck shirts worn on stage (male or female) are #3 in the Top 10 signs that a show will be good. (#2: a bored girl plays keyboards. #1: the band plays a song that's currently in the Billboard Top 40. If you ever saw the Dismemberment Plan play Juvenile's "Back That Azz Up," you know what I mean.) Guitarist Dapose played wicked guitar, much more industrial than new wave/dance… I later found out that he used to be in an Omaha metal band called Lead, and then it made sense. His gothic playing gave the band more depth, and made them harder to categorize.
The Faint vogued and danced their way through a long set of very strong songs. When the show ended, Shannon and I drove home but wound up staying in the car for an hour listening to the remix cd I bought. We drove around the winding streets near the Arboretum in the almost-pitch dark and freaked ourselves out to Jagz Kooner's remix of "Agenda Suicide" — and that was only the first song, played on repeat, over and over.