On record, Los Campesinos! is a shambling, sarcastic, indie-pop
mess, perennially stuffing too many words, delivered in a thick
brogue, into too little space - always sounding on the verge of
utter disintegration. Live, this formula could be a recipe for utter
disaster and drive a band completely off the rails. What Los Campesinos!
delivered instead was a well-oiled rock show that went off like
a keg party at the end of the world.
With seven musicians onstage their brand of cacophonous indie-rock
noise might easily end up muddled and cluttered. Instead, each of
the musicians plays a specific role, melding in just the right sound
while no two players take the lead at the same time - every note serving
to support Gareth's lyrical delivery, which is the key to the
Los Campesinos! sound. The band was so tight and their sound so well
engineered that, when during certain songs Gareth stepped back from
the mic in order to tap off a few notes on the glockenspiel, they
were clear as a bell, even in the midst of a full-on rock song.
For a band thats lyrics delve deeply into self-loathing, awkward
social situations, and loneliness (always with a biting sardonic edge)
Los Campesinos! proved an upbeat, downright happy group of mates.
The show was a celebration of awkwardness - band and audience reveling
in their collective weirdness; the audience and dance floor a perpetual,
pogoing party. With everyone dancing, clapping and singing in unison,
the audience's adoration was constantly apparent as its collective
supporting vocals often rivaled, even overpowered, Gareth in a way
that only added to the atmosphere of utter abandon. At times it felt
like a giant band practice - everyone partying, drinking and dancing
Playing in support of their recently released Hello Sadness,
Los Campesinos! also peppered the set with fan favorites from each
of their previous releases. In an odd twist, the newer Hello Sadness
tracks elicited nearly as much adoration as their older "hits".
Amazingly, much of the crowd was able to sing along with the new tracks
as though they'd been in circulation for years.
There was much excitement amongst the band members, as this was the
night of the airing of their performance on Late Night With David
Letterman. There was much stage banter about their experience
at the show's taping in New York the previous day and the tour scheduling
changes required to enable them to make the taping. After pulling
out all the stops and delivering a legendary performance they had
a sympathetic crowd as they left the stage with little fanfare after
a short encore in order to catch the "Letterman" performance
from the dressing room.
January 20, 2012
Paradise Rock Club, Boston, MA
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