Los Campesinos! stopped by NYC last week for a post-Eyjafjallajokull set, and TwentyFourBit guest contributor Nicole Rallis was a witness to the event. Good news: She wrote this detailed review (of what was apparently an epic show) for us to share. Cannot believe I missed this gig… Check it out below. – Peter
Mother nature be damned! Although Iceland’s volcanic ash clouds may have scrapped the rest of the world’s plans, Los Campesinos!’s Irving Plaza show in New York City could not be stopped! After having to reschedule the concert, the Welsh octet finally managed to make it stateside, and like their song “You! Me! Dancing!” emphatically repeats, it was you, it was me and it was a ton of dancing.
The two-act night kicked off with New York’s own garage punk quartet, Cymbals Eat Guitars, whose alternating set between sway-worthy, mellow melodies, straight-up screaming and screeching guitar episodes got the crowd jumping. It was, however, Los Campesinos! who closed out the night with a bang. Bringing together everyone from old-school trucker types to mosh-ready high schoolers, the eight-piece performed for a room full of hopping, crowd surfing and singing fans. Squeezing onto the stage, the multi-instrumentalists opened the show with “Death to Los Campesinos!” putting on a euphoric set full of old favorites like “My Year In Lists” and “We Are Beautiful, We Are Doomed,” as well as new tracks, like “There Are Listed Buildings” and “Straight In At 101,” off of their latest stellar release, Romance Is Boring.
Peppering the ends of each song with a humble “Cheers” and thanking the crowd repeatedly for coming out, frontman Gareth Campesinos! showed his appreciation between passionately singing, screaming and playing the xylophone, while the crowd showed their love back, and their distaste for mother nature’s inconveniences, by loudly chanting “Fuck volcanoes!” Sticking to mostly uptempo hits, with the welcomed exception of the somber, depressingly beautiful track, “The Sea Is A Good Place To Think About The Future,” Los Campesinos!’s anthemic energy transferred from dancing members on stage to the floor, with Gareth entering the audience at one point, singing shoulder to shoulder with overjoyed fans—a testament to the troupe’s ‘no hierarchy’ policy, showing that with this band, there is an equal playing field for musicians and admirers alike.
Playing the jump-inducing track “Romance Is Boring,” whose anthemic chorus caused the crowd to passionately sing the lyrics back, and closing with floor rumbling dancing during “Sweet Dreams, Sweet Cheeks,” Los Campesinos! played a tremendously vivacious show that generated deafening cheers and boisterous claps for their return. Proving they are a band of the people, the indie poppers shortly bounced back on stage for an encore, before stepping into the audience once again-this time bringing instruments-as several members performed “Broken Heartbeats Sound Like Break Beats” floor-side. Making good on Gareth’s promise on the group’s blog last week that “these are going to be the most violently euphoric shows we have ever played,” Los Campesinos! left the crowd buzzing with a high that couldn’t be extinguished, regardless of what mother nature had to throw at us. – Nicole Rallis