With this being their first UK tour for a year, the anticipation at a Los Campesinos! gig is almost palpable. The first night of the tour to sell out, the band have never played the same venue twice in the city and tonight is no exception, with the Deaf Institute’s Music Hall being their home this time. The band come on following a rousing performance from Scottish upstarts Copy Haho, and the first thing that hits you is just how many of them there are. There’s barely room for them to move at times, and the whole performance teeters on the brink of someone crashing offstage from a mistimed step at times.
Whereas their debut album, Hold on now Youngster, was a fizzing ball of twee-pop energy, the follow-up was a more brooding, nihilistic effort, and the forthcoming third, Romance is Boring looks to delve deeper down that route. Despite the changes of tone on record, the band have kept the same spirit throughout their career when performing, and it shows. It’s still the earlier stuff that gets the loudest response, but only just. Whereas ‘You! Me! Dancing!’ descends into the kind of jumpy mosh pit you’d expect at a Paramore gig, the beautifully bitter lyrics from ‘We are beautiful, We are Doomed’ are sung along to with the vehement fervour and commitment they justify.
Earlier in the evening, the band joined support act Sparky Deathcap on stage to give his songs to fuller sound his songs so desperately deserve and the band seem to foster and thrive upon this group atmosphere. In Gareth they’ve got a front man who’s both charismatic and incredibly awkward and with constant glances over to new band member and sibling Kim, he and the band storm through an overwhelmingly enthusiastic set.
Even material from the new album, unheard by the majority of the audience, is received with warmth, but they resist the temptation to fill their set with it. Instead, fan favourites such as ‘Knee Deep at ATP’ and ‘My Year in Lists’ pepper a performance that indicate the band seem far from slipping into any lull. Indeed, if Robert ‘Sparky’ Taylor’s appearance on stage towards the climax of the gig is anything to go by, there might even be a new addition to come before the band tour again in 2010, which is certainly something to look forward to.
Photo courtesy of Miriam Baynes