A "review" of Los Campesinos! at Neumos, Seattle, WA, 2009-04-10

Homework: calculate the velocity of, oh, say a dinner plate as it accelerates at 9.8 m/s2 over, oh, say, 10 meters. For the sake of argument, assume that the wind resistance is negligible. This will be important later.

The Welsh, apparently, are a stout and hearty folk and tonight they played me the songs of their people.

I've been to Neumos before and it's one of my favorite Seattle live music venues because of the two-story, multiple bar-having layout. The place is absolutely huge, with a 30-foot ceiling that most people would take for granted under normal circumstances.

Los Campesinos! are, however, far from normal. A seven-piece ensemble composed of big decibels, stereo-xylophonic glee, and lots and lots of shouting, Los Campesinos! is the best thing to come out of Cardiff, UK, in a long time. I don't recall exactly how I first came to know of the group, but I had their EP Sticking Fingers into Sockets in heavy rotation on my work computer until I found their full-length album Hold On Now Youngster. Given these titles, it's not hard to believe that the band has a raging euroboner for verbose, post-deconstructionist free-form poetic song titles that are only slightly less cryptic than the lyrics in those songs. What's your favorite song that they do? "We Throw Parties, You Throw Knives", "We Are All Accelerated Readers", or "This is How You Spell 'HAHAHA, We Destroyed the Hopes and Dreams of a Generation of Faux-Romantics'"?

Yes kids, these are the real song titles. Yes kids, they are also the refrains of the aforementioned songs. With few exceptions, these lyrics are yelled — loudly, vehemently, and with such passion that you know in your heart that a) this is probably really therapeutic for them, and b) Dr. Ladysounds is spot-on.

Three songs into their opening set, Los Campesinos! literally brought the house down. I was standing not ten feet from the ceiling (back of the hall on the second story) when a large piece of plaster finally decided that it was too much to bear in the face of all the bass and treble and frenetic vibes of angry, driven Welsh kids fueled by a short lifetime of PG Tips and toffee. Los Campesinos! rocked so hard, the sympathetic vibrations reverberating through the floor, ceiling, and walls caused cosmetic damage to the venue. A giant chunk of it fell off, exposing the lathing of the ceiling, and came crashing down onto the heads of a few people unfortunate enough to be standing directly beneath it.

The show didn't miss a beat. Staff assessed the damage with a flashlight, determined that there were no injuries, and then promptly swept the debris away and put up velvet ropes and "No Parking" signs to keep people from standing underneath it.

That worked out pretty well until the last song, when the lead singer decided to go out into the audience and straddle one of the "No Parking" signs like a horse. A fan dutifully held his hands over him to deflect any would-be dropping chips or chunks from hurting him. Then again, when the star attraction starts disobeying your safety regulations, there's only so far you can go to stop him. It is another matter entirely when he tries to rush a beer up to the under-21 section of the club as a protest for segregating the kiddies from the main concert floor for the entire night. (Turns out, security gets pretty ticked when the star attraction deliberately tries to get the place's liquor license revoked by the state. Best. Encore. Ever.)

So they're Welsh, numerous, and noisy. Pretty much everything you could want in an obscure independent band who's huge with the teeny-bopper set. I can't wait until I'm old enough to feel ways about stuff.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I'm sad that I didn't see that myself. One thing though: don't call them English to their faces. You will learn about novel uses for leeks if you do.