Los Campesinos! at The Echo, November 27, 2007

Los Campesinos! at The Echo, November 27, 2007

Los Campesinos!
Photo by Sung. Full set here.

When it comes to catchy hooks and a fun stage presence, Los Campesinos! pull out all the stops. Last night at the Echo, the Cardiff, Wales-based 7-piece played their hits along with a Pavement cover–“Frontwards” from their 2007 e.p. “Sticking Fingers into Sockets”–in the most humble yet adorable way.

Throughout the set Gareth, lead singer and frontman, made little remarks about their tour, their visit to the States and the inspiration behind some of their songs. He mentioned that this was their first show on the West Coast, which prompted loud applause and whistling from the audience, to which Gareth responded, “I knew that would get a good cheer.” They did little to introduce themselves at the beginning of the set, except to break out an opening lick that should have had everyone in the room dancing.

Unfortunately, the crowd was not as stellar as the band. While Los Campesinos! rocked out each and every one of their pop-dance-rock songs to near perfection, the Echo-goers instead simply stood, listened and barely moved. I, on the other hand, could not control myself and bounced and flailed about with glee as a glockenspiel soared in perfect harmony with the happy, driving rock sounds.

Everyone who has heard anything about this band probably knows that their “hit” song is “You! Me! Dancing!”–the abundance of exclamation points in their titles and band name should give you some idea of the kind of energy these kids put forth–which begins slowly and builds to a chaotic, not-quite-cacophonous melange of sound, just before the kick drum finds the beat and sends your reporter into a frenzy every time he hears it. But probably the best part of their show (and the night) was ending their set with this chant from “Sweet Dreams, Sweet Cheeks”:

One blink for yes, two blinks for no
Sweet dreams, sweet cheeks, we leave alone

All the while Aleksandra, Gareth and Tom did a synchronized dance of arms extending out, waving from side to side and up and down in time with lyrics, until finally the music dropped out and they ended with the chant a cappella.