Photos by Ryan Broderick. For more shows, check out our photo section
were originally supposed to take the stage at the Fillmore last Thursday but a volcano from Iceland grounded their flight from England. Definitely one of the stranger reasons for postponing a show. But volcanoes or not Los Campesinos! took the stage and absolutely killed it.
Opening was the understated Cymbals Eat Guitars
. The Staten Island four-piece was definitely young and seemed a little nervous but warmed up the stage perfectly. They had a quiet coolness about them but it was different in a way from the typical Williamsburg-onian style of moody indie creeping around these days. Cymbals Eat Guitars had a good sense of mood but it never got in the way of actually unleashing really strong rock riffs. The energy in the room was at full throttle by the last note.
As for Los Campesinos! from the first song, opened a capella by scrappy lead singer Gareth Campesinos!, it was clear that a few days in limbo had only made the already hyperkinetic band even more frothing at the mouth to play.
Their set list ranged from early tracks like "Death to Los Campesinos!" to the newest singles like "There Are Listed Buildings" or "The Sea Is a Good Place to Think of the Future" of Romance Is Boring
What was really interesting though, both for the better and worse, was how seamlessly the tracks flowed together. I say for better and worse, because while dipping back into their catalog didn't ever break the rhythm or aesthetic they were jamming on, there also wasn't much definition between songs. Which you could either blame on perhaps the proximity between albums (all three of their releases came out within two years of each other). Or maybe it was that with an eight-piece doing too much all the time can result in the same glazing over that happens with smaller bands not doing enough all the time.
Either way, little concerns like that were almost entirely eclipsed on Monday night because Los Campesinos! played with such an incredible effortlessness that it was almost jaw-dropping. While the other Campesinos! covered the rich and textured melodies the band has become known for, Gareth Campesinos! took on most of the showmanship duties, alternating between slamming on a glockenspiel for bridges and choruses and contorting like a madman on verses. And while he did hit a few sharp notes or revert to a screech for more emotional parts, no one seemed to mind. Between a violin player, two synths, clarinet, two guitars, glockenspiel and a bass, a little dissonance didn't hurt anything.
Ending the show on a fan favorite "Sweet Dreams, Sweet Cheeks", the crowd almost overpowered the band. It was certainly clear though that that was the exact reason Los Campesinos! have done so well for themselves in such a short time. Rabid songs for rabid fans have given them one of the nicest audiences out there. On every song there was dancing and zero ego.
For their encore the crowd played almost entirely, stretching cords, in the audience. Starting with with a chant of "f--k volcanos" and ending with an audience-wide group hug, it kind of reminded you why seeing a band live almost always tops the recorded thing. -Ryan Broderick
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Los Campesinos! on Myspace