I have to start by saying, "Dayum!" When Los Campesinos left the stage and the whole room smelled of body funk, it was a "I said Gawd-Dayum!" moment. Then I walked outside into the unsavory heat and humidity, Dayum!
The pride of Cardiff University made their triumphant third visit to Maxwell's. If you remember last time, they were delayed by that Icelandic volcano in 2010. They ended up playing on a Saturday afternoon. This was a more proper situation for Los Campesinos! feverish band of mega-pop.
I do have to say that since I've been doing this site, LC has been one of my favorite bands that have formed in my seven year history -- one of like 20 I would my favorites. It's a two-tier appreciation. First, they've released four quality albums that you love for their unabashed exuberance and their sweet melancholia. Second, they are just a damn fine live band. It's not like they are jumping off the walls and lighting themselves on fire. They play tight without being showy, and generally seem like good people.
Their latest album, Hello Sadness, is sort of a funny title. Since they started in 2006, they've had to shake the Twee As Fuck title. By now, being called a twee band is an insult. With the new album, it's not that they matured (all bands do that), they are more clear. When I first got to know the band and interviewed Gareth, they major influence was Broken Social Scene. So much so that they got BSS's David Neufeld to produce their work. On the new album, they've create more space between the goofy keyboard parts, brass, glockenspiel, the OOhhhhs and Whoa Ohhs and Gareth ruminations on awkward moments in life. I think they'll always have those elements in their songs, and a youthful confusion in their lyrics.
With a great catalogue to choose from, tonight's show featured fan favorites and crowd pleasures to get pussies in the crowd jumping and knocking into each other. Hey, Gareth called them all pussies. This is coming from a man who kept on talking about the shorts he was wearing.
Area heroes Yellow Ostrich are tagging along on the LC tour. They stepped up their sound with the second album, Strange Lands, with some grinding, heavy duty guitar licks. They also landed on the veteran indie label Barsuk, having released their debut, The Mistress for free-ish. Now, founder Alex Schaaf filled out his big idea with some familiar faces, former We Are Scientists drummer Michael Tapper and sometimes Beirut member Jon Natchez. The result is a massive putout of volume, importance and weight. It's always a good sign when a three-piece band sounds like a 10-piece band.