Live review

Los Campesinos! cement their beloved cult status at London’s Troxy

Playing the biggest show of their career, it’s a euphoric assembly.

More than 15 years after the debut album that manoeuvred them into cult status, and 13 since their Budweiser-soundtracking crossover hit (a still-effervescent ‘You! Me! Dancing!’) granted them brief TV fame, tonight marks the biggest show Los Campesinos! have played to date. Long sold-out, it’s testament to a band that have stood the test of time not only through the music but by doubling down on their morals. A batch of reduced price tickets for low-income fans were released for the show; all-gender bathrooms have been introduced for the night, and there’s a time out area for those that need it.

In response, the septet have nurtured the sort of hardcore fanbase that only a cursory look at the persistently snaking merch queue needs to attest; it’s a reciprocal relationship that beams out through the crowd who, from front to very back, sing every word (of which there are, notoriously, many). It’s a good time to be an LC! fan - particularly when, halfway through, vocalist Gareth Campesinos! uses the opportunity to announce the band’s upcoming seventh record. “Do you like surprises? What if I told you that, for the last five months, we’ve been recording a new album? It’s out in the summer and none of you fuckers knew.” The pummelling crescendo of resultant teaser track ‘A Psychic Wound’ suggests they’ve lost none of their knack for big slabs of emotional catharsis in the seven years since their last.

Los Campesinos!, Troxy, London Los Campesinos!, Troxy, London Los Campesinos!, Troxy, London

But really, tonight is a celebration of all that’s come before and the community that’s kept them aloft throughout it. Filled with lust and longing, hyper-specific reference points and more football nods than an entire bobblehead squad, from the saucy/ exhausted ‘By Your Hand’ to the call-and-response lyrical riddles of ‘What Death Leaves Behind Me’ through the self-flagellating yearning of ‘A Slow, Slow Death’, these are songs that will likely leave you feeling everything or nothing. Those that get it, REALLY get it, and everyone in the Troxy is firmly in the former camp.

“We’ve got to follow it up with the good stuff, so it’s banger, banger, banger, banger,” Gareth declares post album announce, and the second half of the set comes through on that promise. ‘Straight In At 101’ segues into rarely-played oldie ‘Knee Deep at ATP’, the band elongating the build up between for maximum reaction; ‘The Sea Is A Good Place To Think Of The Future’ remains one of the great gut-punching anthems of the 2010s; ‘You! Me! Dancing!’ - once considered something of an albatross - has returned to its innocently joyful former state, while they round out the evening with early set-closer ‘Sweet Dreams, Sweet Cheeks’. It’s a final nostalgic thank you to those that have stuck by them since those first days; heading into a whole new era, you can’t imagine those people are going away any time soon.

Tags: Los Campesinos!, Reviews, Live Reviews

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