Los Campesinos! – Brooklyn Bowl – June 23, 2012
Los Campesinos!, the septet from Cardiff, Wales, has had a rotating corral of young adults (whose members all take Campesinos as their surname) migrate in and out over the past few years. Nevertheless, at the band’s core is joyous indie pop that masks deep, melancholy lyrics. Playing material from their latest album, Hello Sadness, Los Campesinos!, anchored by frontman Gareth Campesinos, put on a high-energy show on Saturday night.
The large contingent of LC! fans were singing and dancing along from the opener, “By Your Hand.” The audience was treated to a timeline of the group’s catalog with “Romance Is Boring,” the title track from their previous album, “Death to Los Campesinos!” from Hold on Now, Youngster … and back to recent single and title track, “Hello Sadness.” Gareth introduced “Miserabilia” as a song about dying alone and with lyrics like, “Shout at the world because the world doesn’t love you/ Lower yourself because you know that you’ll have to,” there’s no doubt here about the misery.
Needless to say Los Campesinos! don’t do ballads: “We aren’t playing slow songs in case someone has a stroke,” Gareth informed the crowd before the band thundered into “We Are Beautiful, We Are Doomed.” As the night neared the end, LC! played the infectious “You! Me! Dancing!” Despite the need to get on the road (the band had to get to Pittsburgh by 2:45 on Sunday afternoon to watch England play Italy in the European Cup), Los Campesinos! returned to the stage for an encore of “The Sea Is a Good Place to Think of the Future” and “Baby I Got the Death Rattle.” No spares were had Saturday night at Brooklyn Bowl, only strikes into the hearts of the band’s fans. —Sharlene Chiu