Les Savy Fav, No Age at Czar to celebrate 16 years of SPOT

The sound system pumping out the dj'd music in the third room was decidedly blown or shitty or something, and garbled music, long set up time and someone I used to know saying, "I didn't expect to see YOU at THIS show" agitated me a little.  However, right before No Age started their set, one of my favorite songs, "Contort Yourself" by James Chance and the Contortions blasted through the muddy speakers. I had never heard No Age before, and their sound of two piece guitar drum singing drummer rock really sounded great. Lots of technical problems or sound guy douchebaggery aside (and in spite of), this band exploded with great tunes that sounded like The Lemonheads with less masogynistic lyrics and way less arrogance. Markedly frustrated by mikes ceasing to function one after another, the drummer grabbed his drum mikes and started singing into them out of desperation and as a big middle finger to the sound crew. However, they won a lot of new fans by continuing their set through all these technical difficulties and I hope they come back someday.

I saw Les Savy Fav a few years back at the Orpheum before they got that big stupid stage. Their wild frontman tore off his clothes, sang fun songs and climbed the rafters and tubes of the place like monkey bars. (The opener from that show, Ex Models, really pushed the limits of drumstick angular guitar punk and Richard Hell/No Wave vocals in especially engaging ways). Les Savy Fav's sound favors British Post Punk bands like Public Image Ltd and Gang of Four, characterized by angular guitars with chunky and funk influenced bass lines.

The recently (I think) reformed Les Savy Fav played their songs very well, and frontman Tim Harrington relied on his absurd wardrobes, stage antics (and off stage antics), and physical exertion to rally the crowd toward insanity. A little gimmicky at times, the performances of the band still exploded through their instruments and voices to produce a really fun show. Although the crowd held up a huge red couch with Harrington perched on top, stage divers plunged through masses and onto the ground. Harrington's mission of engaging the audience physically led him through the crowd as a space detective Sherlock Holmes from the year 2020, a masked monster and a bandit before the night was out.

I liked Les Savy Fav in the small club setting a coulple years ago better, but the band really put on a fun show that sounded really good and didn't get too goofy to stomach.

I have always been a terrible skateboarder. Lord knows I've tried: the aesthetics of physical activity, reckless abandon and risk of personal injury appeal to me on an ideological level, but my lack of skill and commitment caused many bad and embarrassing falls. I even listen to semi obscure hardcore punk bands like Big Boys, who's fast rhythms and anarchy driven lyrics characterized skateboarding (in the 80s at the very least). Regardless of my personal abilities, celebrating 16 years of the Skatepark of Tampa seems very worthwhile, especially since SPOT along with Transitions Art Gallery remains one of the safest and best places for the kids of Tampa to hang out and spend their time instead of raiding their parents' liquor cabinets or just being bored to death with TV brainwash.

Walking into the Czar on Saturday night with a friend, we navigated ourselves through three rooms of schizophrenic, non sequitur rooms filled wall to wall with scenesters and club personalities of all ages. In the third and decidedly more "rock n roll" room, I walked into a band playing generic sounding punkish music with those whiny vocals that I don't really associate with very easily. The voyeur in me snuck back into the second room and watched all the people at and around the bar acting silly and trying to get to know each other. Amazing how many senses these places tickle in such a short period of time.  Flashing lights, red walls, perfume, sweat, hairspray, flesh, pounding beats and the buzz of constant chatter flourished all around the room while my friend and I yelled at each other about art and crap.  Not wanting to miss the bands No Age or Les Savy Fav, we meandered back into the third room, got some free Pabst and settled into the much more boring people watching of scensters and hipsters who looked more or less the same as one another...

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