"They’re never gonna let us play here again" worried Cheeseburger guitarist Eric Dufresne, following their debut at the brand-new Music Hall of Williamsburg, a show involving four piñatas that left the stage covered in shredded paper and candy. I’m not sure if that was something MHoW told them, or just a general fear but following headliners Les Savy Fav‘s wild performance, I can’t imagine it seemed as bad.
Les Savy Fav’s new album, Let’s Stay Friends — their first in six years — had just been released on on Tuesday, so this was a bit of a record release party. Also the winner of their "make our video" contest had been announced and the $1000 prize was to be given out that night. Given to Bunny, the five-year-old who charmed the world with her spirited lip-sync of "The Equestrian." The band presented Bunny with an oversized novelty check before launching into the contest song, giving the some confused kid a toy guitar. Tim Harrington tried to get to get her to sing along, and then tried to get her to ride him like the stuffed horse — neither of which she wanted to do. I think she was just cranky from being up way, way past her bedtime.
I’ve never been the biggest fan of Les Savy Fav’s music but I rarely turn down a chance to see them live. (And I actually like the new album, my opinion is obviously changing.) Most reviews of Les Savy Fav shows tend to read the same — that crazy Tim Harrington — it’s just the particular crazy stuff that changes. This time we got: Tim dressed in polo gear, then stripping down to just shorts, then wearing a weirdly realistic wig, a variety of shirts; ran through the audience and climbed the banisters; and old pal (theirs, not mine) Fred Armisen joined the band on "Pots & Pans."
The crowd, as usual, was going berserk for all this, beers were flying, and for this I was glad the upstairs balcony was open. It’s really nice, by the way, more like Irving Plaza’s than Bowery Ballroom, with a big separate upstairs bar and a little bleachers in the middle — a nice nod to the former space. There’s even an elevator, though where it puts you out downstairs I’m not sure. It was also empty up there, I’m not sure most people realized the balcony was open. Let’s hope it remains that way.
Cheeseburger, meanwhile, have gone from being a band known for drunken buffoonery (and I mean that in the best possible way, I know most of them) to being pretty awesome. There’s still some schtick to their shows (the piñatas) but it doesn’t take away from the songs, and they’ve built up a big fanbase — it seemed like much of the sold-out crowd was just as much there to see them as Les Savy Fav. As for the afformentioned mess, it was a bit wild, but certainly not anything you wouldn’t expect at one of their shows. Not sure what the big deal was.
Photo swiped from Aarrgh!’s Flickr photostream.