Live Review: Los Campesinos! at Leeds Cockpit – 11th November 2011

By on Wednesday, 23rd November 2011 at 4:00 pm

The last time Los Campesinos! did such an extensive tour of the United Kingdom to the point of playing Leeds, they were in this very room. ‘The big room’ at the Cockpit last time hosted a band diagnosed with swine flu but determined to play out their tour in full. It’s that kind of resilience that’s led LC! to sell out Shepherds Bush Empire and gain a dedicated following worldwide and even if they’ve not grown out of the venue, they’ve grown a lot as a group.

Promoting their fourth full record ‘Hello Sadness’ with a few members not present at the last showing, Los Camp! build straight into opening track ‘By Your Hand’. It’s greeted with the kind of enthusiasm that you can only find at an LC! show, it’s a quick succession of ‘indie hits’ mixed in with seven new tracks. It’s bold from the band, but when you’ve got such tracks as ‘We Are Beautiful, We Are Doomed’ in the middle of your set and album track ‘Miserabilia’ gets a raucous reaction from those present, throwing in two thirds of your yet-to-be properly released record isn’t as much of an off-putting idea as you might think. Earlier in the year, it was clear that the band needed to be playing new material as some tracks from ‘WAB WAD’ and ‘Hold On Now, Youngster!’ were starting to sound routine. Now they’re revitalised amongst fresh highlights such as ‘Songs About Your Girlfriend’ and title track ‘Hello Sadness’.
Los Campesinos! by BradenFThe lyrics are as intelligent as front-man Gareth Campesinos! has ever been and whilst HS may not be the catchiest indie-pop record, it’s endearing as a series of songs that come alive when sung by hundreds in a room literally dripping with sweat.

Not over participating in conversation, yet at the same time in no way ignoring the adoration from the congregation, Gareth Campesinos! and company seem genuinely happy to have such positive responses from what’s an ambitiously mellow album and last track ‘Baby I’ve Got The Death Rattle’ becomes an instant hit with the Yorkshire crowd as it builds. Lyrics “you are an angel and that’s why you pray and I am an ass and that’s why I pray” are almost as powerful as ‘Romance is Boring”s now iconic “you could never kiss a Tory boy without wanting to cut off your tongue again” from ‘The Sea Is…’ (which also features).

The encore is ‘We Are Beautiful’ album track ‘Documented Minor Emotional Breakdown #1’, a strange choice and yet still fan favourite (“do you suck your mother’s dick with that mouth”, an edited lyric for the occasion) is followed by normal set closer ‘Sweet Dreams Sweet Cheeks’ and all becomes pandemonium. It’s been an energetic show anyway, but it seems that the crowd-surfers and maniac jumpers have been holding back until this point. And just like that, it’s over. Los Campesinos! have once again proven that they can be a whirlwind live act and restamped themselves as an act to be taken seriously with a serious dosage of both angst and fun. Goodbye courage…

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