Concert Review: Los Campesinos! at the Grog Shop, 8/6

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If I was writing from the perspective of the six-foot-tall girl standing in front of me, spreading horrible B.O. as she flailed her arms in a wild attempt at dancing, I would say that Los Campesinos! was the greatest band on Earth. I would say that their music infected my bones and embraced my muscles, rendering me a slave to spastic movement and complete upper-body whiplash. I would say that the seven-piece Welsh pop band could do no wrong, so long as they continued blasting eardrums out with a barrage of instruments, including guitars, glockenspiels, bells, a violin and drums. And about half the crowd would probably agree with me.

Surprise! I’m not writing from Tall Girl’s perspective — though I wish I were. I recently interviewed the band for Scene. I love them. They are grounded and goofy, just how young twee-poppers should be.

The show started with two great songs from the band’s debut, Hold On Now, Youngster: “This Is How You Spell Hahaha …” and “Death to Los Campesinos!” Yet, they still haven’t mastered an important element of the live show: balance. With 8,000 instruments going at the same time, many of the songs came off as energetic ruckus. Each song is interesting; the lyrics evolve, repetitiveness is never a problem and there’s never a shortage of creative musical elements. Still, it gets to be too much.

“You! Me! Dancing!” pulled the show back together with a blanket of chimes, violin and strong guitar riffing. For the closing number, “Sweet Dreams, Sweet Cheeks,” lead vocalist Gareth ran through the crowd nudging the dudes around him. It was a testament to Los Campesinos’ playfully fun attitude — one that does a pretty good job outshining any of the band’s shortcomings. —Danielle Sills

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