In the morning of the waxing new year, the boys in Les Savy Fav had these burning questions at 3 a.m. on New Year’s Day at the Bowery Ballroom: Did anyone get married so far in the very young 2008? Did anyone get laid yet in 2008? Did anyone have a bit of spittle come up and swallow it back down? Or a lot of spittle and not keep it down? At 3 a.m. on New Year’s Day at the Bowery Ballroom, these are totally legitimate questions.
The digital-only After the Balls Drop is the live recording of that raucous night/morning, which surely saw most in attendance end up on the tiles at some point. The set was heaving with tracks from 2007’s Let’s Stay Friends, the band’s first full-length since 2001, and was peppered with old favorites, and they wrapped up with some very choice covers.
From the opening pulses of "The Equestrian," the superb lead-off track, the boys set the tone for a show that even on record proves Les Savy Fav to be one of the best live bands around. From Tim Harrington yelping "Oh, I love this one!" before they played "The Lowest Bitter," to wishing a happy birthday to the new year and then kicking into a ripping version of "The Year Before the Year 2000," these recording shows the band as all-around goofballs with wicked art-punk chops. Harrington even does a decent Glenn Danzig for a moment on their sing-along cover of the Misfits’ "Astro Zombies."
The muddy production detracts a bit from how incredibly energetic and sparkling Les Savy Fav was that night. As a whole the set list is full of songs that begged to be done live, and the covers — the Pixies’ "Debaser" and Love’s "Everybody’s Gotta Live," in particular — are worth wading through the dead zones of crowd noise in some of the tracks. This is a live recording that stays true to the night.