Les Savy Fav / Jai Alai Savant
Epiphany Episcopalian Church; Chicago, IL

“If only we could get this many people to show up for youth group tomorrow,” lamented Les Savy Fav front man Tim Harrington upon taking the stage. Epiphany Episcopal Church was an unorthodox but inspired venue for the merry punk pranksters: when cleared of pews, the worship space provided ample room for fans to gather by the hundreds, had a high-arched ceiling that made for great acoustics, and evoked a gothic atmosphere with enormous stained-glass windows and statuary lurking in the corners, cutting a stark contrast to the band’s hyperactive, noise-laden dance grooves.

Harrington remains one of the most captivating front-men in rock ‘n’ roll today. He tore through the venue like a Ritalin-starved toddler, stalking from one end of the stage to another, over amps and monitors, out into the audience, and even onto a window ledge. The rest of the band seemed content to play the straight man, grinding, occasionally cutting Harrington off when they grew tired waiting for his banter to end.

The set leaned heavily on 2007’s Let’s Stay Friends and singles collection Inches, but classics like “Scouts Honor” and “Who Rocks the Party?” also drew an enthusiastic response from the crowd. The band wrapped up their encore with “Je T’Aime,” a relatively melancholic tale of love lost. Although the band rarely takes itself too seriously, the sight of Harrington poised atop the biggest amp he could find for the song's emotional climax was undeniably moving. However, he still somehow made it to the back of the venue to give concert-goers his best holy-man glad-hand on their way out.

Also worth noting were openers Jai Alai Savant. With their potent mixture of reggae, punk, and prog, they got the evening off to a riveting start. Vamped-out live versions of songs like the dub-influenced “Akebono” pumped up the crowd and effortlessly rose above the typical opening act fair.

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