By Dave Beech
December 12, 2013
As a band, Los Campesinos! have never quite reached the level of fame that they perhaps would have liked. And though they’re music has been featured on a Budwesier advert, they’re certainly not a household name. What this has afford them, however, is a longevity that outlasts any of their contemporaries, many of whom, split years ago. Touring tonight in support of their fifth album No Blues, this evening is one which we’ve been looking forward to for some time, having not seen the band since 2010, it’s going to be interesting to see which songs songs have been omitted in favour of the more recent tracks. The answer of which is, quite a lot.
Thankfully however, that’s by no means a bad thing and No Blues is a fantastic record that’s a worthy addition to the Los Camp! canon. The crowd seem somewhat uneasy at first, given the first choice of track is a new song. However, they follow it up quickly with ‘By Your Hand’ which is met with a rousing reaction from the crowd. Having only ever seen them at a festival before, I’ve been looking forward to seeing them in a venue, and they don’t disappoint. While there definitely is a whole lot of time given over to the new album (seven tracks), they still include fan favourites such as ‘Death to Los Campesinos!’ and ‘A Heat Rash In the Shape of the Show Me State…’ which go down brilliantly, making up for those not too familiar with the newer material.
Los Campesinos! really are a live band. Sure their music sounds great on record, particularly on later releases which see the production values increase dramatically, but in a live environment you really get to feel the energy of the band, their humour, and clichéd as it is, their sadness, to which Los Campesinos! seem to have developed somewhat of a penchant over recent years. Perhaps the night’s most sombre moment comes in the form of the excellent ‘The Sea is A Good Place to Think of The Future’. A personal favourite of mine, when it was released the track hinted at the imminent melancholy that was still due to come and tonight signifies an atmospheric close to their main set.
The encore is fortunately free of new tracks, and features ‘Straight In at 101′ and ‘Baby I Got the Death Rattle’ respectively, ending what has undoubtedly been one of the best gigs of the year from a band nearing the top of their game. With a fairly prolific back catalogue already, one can only hope that next year brings us another album and tour in support. At the very least another tour is a must, as Los Camp! are a band whose songs fair far better in a live environment. And that’s saying something.