Live Review

Los Campesinos!, Camden Barfly, London

It’s just… it’s just too early in the day, too late in the week.

Sunday afternoons. Designed solely for the purposes of eating our own body weights in roast potatoes, sitting in toasty warm pubs, maybe watching football, reading papers, if we’re feeling really wild, partaking in a game of scrabble. Nothing too strenuous. Nothing more taxing than lifting a pint glass or fork to mouth, anything else is just asking for some form of muscle strain. Sunday afternoons are certainly not meant for cramming into the Barfly and dancing like all our dance heroes would if they existed. But lured only by the promise of Los Campesinos and a few warm beers, we’re attempting to pretend that this particular Sunday afternoon is Friday night instead, and it’s actually dark outside. It’s a hard job, but someone has to do it.

Perhaps that’s why the crowd seems a little subdued at kick off. It’s not like Gareth and his band of merry men (and women) launch head first into new album ‘Hello Sadness’. True, they do kick off with album opener ‘By Your Hand’, but by virtue of being the lead single, we all know that anyway. We’re being definitely being gently warmed up, easing us in with ‘Romance is Boring’ before trying to entice our dancing feet with a joyous ‘Death To Los Campesinos’. If this was a Friday night, 10p says we’d all be jumping already though, instead of politely nodding our heads and tapping our feet. The timing’s just a bit odd, rather than off.

Not that the audience seeming a little subdued is going to stop Los Campesinos, they’re in fine form. It’s fair to say that the sound isn’t great, for the most part the vocals are too low and the tambourine, which we’re informed, it’s jolly hard to play in time whilst singing (although thinking about it, Liam Gallagher can do it and he’s no Einstein) and bass are, at times, too high. But it’s a testament to the LC love in this room that it’s the tracks from the new album that are treated with whoops and yeahs, once we finally manage to forget what time of what day it is. ‘Songs About Your Girlfriend’ finds our angst ridden indie boy hero threatening to nick your current paramour because she probably fancies him anyway, before we’re treated to a perfectly filthy rendition of ‘Straight In At 101’, with it’s refrain about how it ‘feels like the build-up takes forever but you never touch my cock’. Which, if we’re honest, is a bit much for a Sunday afternoon. I mean, you don’t get that on the Eastenders’ omnibus.

Whilst it’s not the hottest or steamiest of indie pop gigs, Gareth’s definitely working up a proper sweat. Demanding that someone buys him a beer and we all pass it down to him through the crowd (which does happen, kudos to the man at the bar), they attempt to get us properly moving by playing a frenetic rendition of ‘You, Me, Dancing!’, but our slight reticence is even noted from the stage. Albeit noted with some glee, taken to mean that the band might finally be rid of the millstone of an acutely popular song from around their necks. Finishing off the proceedings with the new album’s titular track, and ‘Baby I Got The Death Rattle’, it’s a strange sensation to be filtering out of a venue into still broad daylight.

Let’s be clear, it’s not that Los Campesinos aren’t good, and it’s not that they’ve done anything wrong, far from it. The idea of slotting in a cheap, fan only, last minute addition to the tour, well, the sentiment isn’t wasted on any of us, it was a lovely thought. And another time and another place and I would dance like a moron, I’m quite sure. It’s just… it’s just too early in the day, too late in the week. The idea of a lunchtime gig, in theory, might sound like a brilliant idea, leaving us free from any worries about the onset of a tired Monday morning with a hangover, but it does seem that there’s some convincing to be done if it’s not to come at the expense of atmosphere. Atmosphere, and roast potatoes.

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