On a memorable night at Liverpool’s Arts Club, Getintothis‘ David Hall was on hand to give the lowdown on some sick scenes.
In just over a decade together, Cardiff ensemble Los Campesinos! have gone from twee DIY indie darlings to one of the most respected UK acts around.
They’ve just completed a rapturously-received string of US dates, and now return to these shores to kick off a UK tour on Merseyside.
We have previously seen Sløtface as a support act in Liverpool, under their wisely-ditched Slutface moniker. Their strengths and weaknesses remained similar to when we last saw them in the Shipping Forecast basement. Melodic basslines hold up their Paramore-esque pop punk, over guitars that are too clean, trebly and lacking an edge. Sløtface need to beef up their sound.
It speaks to the strength of Los Campesinos!‘s body of work meanwhile that the last time the band hit Liverpool was on the Hello Sadness tour, now two albums ago. Over their lifespan, they have quietly amassed six albums’ worth of indie-pop gems, all of which they unleashed at the Arts Club.
The band have developed impressively in that time; the bubbling enthusiasm of Hold On Now, Youngster… big-hitters peppered throughout the set warmed the heart, with the wiry guitar lines of Knee Deep At ATP segueing into My Year In Lists. Newer tracks from this year’s form-keeping Sick Scenes show definite hallmarks of maturity, particularly in 5 Flucloxacillin, I Broke Up in Amarante, and the downtempo, heartfelt A Slow, Slow Death all dispatched with aplomb.
The setlist in Liverpool was exhaustive, the whole gig really feeling like an event and a celebration of Los Campesinos!‘s back catalogue with sizable contributions from No Blues and Romance is Boring. A feel good atmosphere pervaded Arts Club as the band racked up the crowdpleasers and the majority of the audience knew every wry lyrical barb, every keyboard bleep, every whooped vocal.
From I Broke Up In Amarante proving just as infectious as Avocado, Baby to the wildly imaginative drumming on What Death Leaves Behind, Los Campesinos! seemed like a band in their prime. They obviously enjoyed their time onstage as they got the crowd to vote for their set closer after the whole place had bounced along to You! Me! Dancing! and howled back every word of For Flotsam.
— Jamie Kelly (@_J_R_Kelly_) April 28, 2017
It had the feel of like a greatest hits set, but with prime indie-dance cuts like Straight In At 101 to call upon, that shouldn’t have been a surprise. This was one of those rare nights when it really seemed like the whole crowd had turned up to see their favourite band of all time, and Los Campesinos! left the stage with Liverpool baying for more.
Photos by Getintothis‘ Lucy McLachlan