Saturday 7 December 2013

Live Review: Los Campesinos! | Clwb Ifor Bach, Cardiff 05/12/2013

Whilst not technically Welsh Los Campesinos! were indeed formed in the lovely city of Cardiff and they still very much call it their home to this day. Having played countless gigs here it's quite shamefully really that tonight was my very first one as an attendee. With a new album to boot and a fresh vigour coursing through their veins to say I was a little excited would be an understatement. First on the bill, kicking things off was the delightful Playlounge warming up the Welsh crowd. A noisy thrash pop duo from London. For just 2 people on stage they sure as hell create a big sound. As guitars crunch over thunderous percussion, the drawling vocals manage to find their way above the crashing and jangling to form quite the valiant effort. With a brilliant knack for switching between heavy and loud to soft and subtle the pair manage to bring their unique sound to life in brilliant detail. It's just a shame their songs are so short. As they power through a stalwart set their unique take on DIY fuzzy guitar music is something of an explosive treat and they've most definitely earned themselves a new fan tonight.

By the time LC! took to the stage the already crowded upstairs of Clwb Ifor Bach was now brimming at full capacity as I stood submerged in a sea of New Balance trainers and denim jackets. The band finally emerged through the crowd at the side of the stage to much applause. Having finally shaken that horrible Twee label they often became associated with in the early days, not that they ever were, the new album really defines their sound as they settle in to a jaunty confidence. For anyone who's not familiar with the band then the first thing you'll notice is there's a lot of them. I'm not talking a Sigur Rós kind of lot but a lot nonetheless as all six members (7 tonight) and their equipment cram on to the tiny stage. Opening with As Lucerne / The Low taken from their new album 'No Blues' the band quickly found their voice as the crowd was just as eager to accept. It's been 355 days since their last gig according to lead singer Gareth. We wouldn't be able to tell if it wasn't for the fact he accidentally announced it as a game rather than a gig. Too much football? Throw in some comical banter and a genuine appreciation for so many people and the band look thoroughly please to be back enjoying themselves in the spotlight.

With their previous album tracks sounding just as good amongst the new ones it's clear to see just how much their lyrics referencing love, loss and teenage angst mean to everyone as they sing back every word, even on the newer songs which is quite some feat considering their fifth album has only been out for little over a month. "Ex boyfriend, give us a song, Ex boyfriend boyfriend give us a song" shouts the crowd as Glue Me comes to a triumphant end. By the time the more energetic numbers play such as We Are Beautiful, We Are Doomed and You! Me! Dancing! on times I genuinely thought the floor may collapse at any given moment as it buckled and bounced under all the vigorous jumping.

There was some technical difficulties with the vocals resulting in some of the harmonies being lost amongst the instrumentation but this was by far outweighed by the musicianship displayed between members as everyone in the crowd danced around in an unrivalled enthusiasm. There's a definitive symbiosis rooted deep within LC!, and its evident from the start of the show right through to the end. Whether they’re bellowing congruent vocals in blissful harmony or transcending into eloquent percussive breaks, their chemistry is obvious. Rounding up on the more sombre The Sea Is A Good Place To Think Of The Future LC! display once more their versatile nature having swapped between shouted vocals and softly hummed tones throughout the evening. With raw and obliterating lyrics the guitars and synths swept throughout the rather sweaty venue showcasing their critical storytelling in fine detail. A fitting end to a fantastic first show back. And any band who doesn't partake in an encore (I mean, how pretentious have they become) is a friend of mine.

They continue their tour at the following dates:

7 // Queens Social Club, Sheffield (BUY TICKETS) (w/ Joanna Gruesome)
8 // Gorilla, Manchester (BUY TICKETS) (w/ Joanna Gruesome)
9 // Heaven, London (BUY TICKETS) (w/ Joanna Gruesome)

21 // Paradise, Boston MA (18+) (BUY TICKETS) (w/ Speedy Ortiz)
22 // Irving Plaza, New York NY (All Ages) (BUY TICKETS) (w/ Speedy Ortiz)
23 // 9:30 Club, Washington DC (All Ages) (BUY TICKETS)
25 // Metro, Chicago IL (All Ages) (BUY TICKETS)

25/26 // Low Cost Festival, Benidorm (BUY TICKETS)


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