By Julie Thomson
Judging from the crowd on Saturday attendees might not have realized that the Les Savy Fav show was the first outdoor concert at the Nasher Museum of Art. While the show started a bit late, the delay was hopefully forgiven since it stemmed from the technical setup for the band’s live video feed projected on screens behind them. Throughout the show video cameras (taped to lead singer Tim Harrington’s head and arms, a few taped to audience members and some onstage) continuously streamed images of the crowd and the stage. Engaging with ideas of surveillance that are part of our daily lives, the constantly changing perspectives of the video echoed some of the ideas that interested artist Barkley Hendricks, a fitting connection since the concert celebrated the closing of the exhibition Barkley L. Hendricks: Birth of the Cool. Hendricks’s painting and installation Fela: Amen, Amen, Amen, Amen on display in the Nasher Museum included a video camera at the top of the frame. This work’s camera streamed video of museum visitors looking at the painting of the afro-beat pioneer Fela Kuti, offering a larger and layered commentary on perception and exchange.
Les Savy Fav rocked the museum’s lawn with a set of songs drawn mostly from their newest album Let’s Stay Friends. Starting with the quieter What Would Wolves Do?, the addictive pop sugariness of Patty Lee followed, before leading into the driving rock of The Equestrian and The Year Before the Year 2000. After a few more songs one of the cameras stopped and lead singer Tim Harrington played with the idea of cameras going down in a museum and the need for security. Holding up a towel that read “I need you so much” the band launched into the next song. Other set highlights included We Rock the Party, The Lowest Bitter and Raging in the Plague Age.
While hard to see at times, Harrington moved around the stage and into the audience often. While during one crowd venture Harrington mentioned encountering fire ants, at another point he paused to thank a nearby tree, directing a spotlight on it for a moment. The rest of the band, Seth Jabour, Syd Butler, Harrison Haynes and another guitarist, played a tight set, though at times Harrington’s microphone did not always hold up to the continual encounters of sweat and bottled water he submitted it to. Towards the end of the show Harrington led the crowd in a chant of “covered in sweat but not finished yet,” an appropriate cry for the hot North Carolina night. The high energy and unpredictably great show lasted over an hour before ending with a two-song encore.
Images for this post were provided by Jerstin Crosby (2nd image from the top)
and Dr J. Caldwell (all others) through our facebook group page