On Thursday night, the Cardiff septet Los Campesinos! returned to Los Angeles for the second time this year, performing at the El Rey along with openers Moses Campbell and the Lovely Bad Things. Since this show belongs to a couple sporadic dates across North America, rather than a promotional tour, I entered the venue wondering how this set would play out. Naturally, the show’s format resembled a “greatest hits” concert: slightly leaning towards their last album but covering all the important bases (including, of course, “You! Me! Dancing!”).
I should put it out there that LC! are my all-time favorite band and I see them at any available opportunity, so I obviously loved this set as well. However, considering this is my fourth time attending a LC show, I initially wondered what I gain from seeing this band so often. I mean, at this point I can more or less anticipate every trick and choreographed moment of their set. Thankfully, the great thing about this band is that these tricks still mean something to me. A rush still flows to my head when Gareth comes into the audience for “Sweet Dreams, Sweet Cheeks” and I still laugh when they jokingly chide the audience for wanting to hear their old, “classic” songs.
The audience also plays a role in why I love LC! concerts. Sometimes these shows border on D&D conventions. You start to recognize people and everyone geeks out at all the same self-deprecating lines. Even the audience dialogue felt so specifically grounded in Los Campesinos!-type themes: a “heartbroken” woman hit on Gareth, who declined, saying, “I’m sure I’ll hear about it on Tumblr tomorrow morning,” (he knows his fans well) and the guy beside me shouted “OH. MY. GOD! THEY ARE SO TWEE!”
Despite all these great moments that reaffirmed my own fandom, the show also had some slightly depressing downsides. I assume they booked this show as a victory lap after their Treasure Island appearance earlier this month—and since they already played LA earlier this year—but they consequently had a low turnout. This didn’t get in the way of the band’s charisma, who in classic LC! fashion made a joke of it and kept playing, but as I left the venue drenched in sweat, I couldn’t help feeling a little bummed out seeing my favorite band in that kind setting.
--Michael, Public Relations