This Los Campesinos live review was written by Aimee Robison a Gigsoup contributor. Edited by Zoe Anderson.
It’s been a while since Los Campesinos did a full UK tour, and an hour before any band is due on stage, its clear that tonight’s Leeds date is going to be a special one. The venue has already attracted a decent amount of fans, standing about excitedly chatting amongst themselves, and eagerly anticipating the return of an old favourite.
Before Los Campesinos make their live return, Leeds based four-piece Bruising take to the stage to perform on the night of the release of their debut single, ‘Emo Friends/Honey’. The set opens with a guitar heavy, yet poppy and upbeat number, which encourages a few nods of approval around the room, yet it is clear the anticipation for Los Campesinos is winning the crowd. As new kids on the block, it is understandable that opening up for a sold out show at Brudenell might be a little nerve wracking for the band, but still they power through with fun, folky lyrics and hooky riffs with a real strong girl attitude.
Lead singer, Niomi Baguely, shows off an incredible range of vocal talent, yet on a personal level she appears quietly reserved, offering limited communication to the audience. It seems that the role of front man, at least when the music stops, is handed to guitarist Ben Lewis, who shows gratitude and warm humour. “My parents are here tonight,” he explains- that’s why there will be limited expletives tonight.
‘Emo Friends’ fresh from their new EP shows great promise in winning over the crowd, met with the biggest round of applause the band has received all night, which is a positive sign for the success of this young group. Ending the night with big riffs and chugging guitars, their sound can be likened to the early days of Los Campesinos and ‘90s alternative poppy hits. Bruising offer an ironic perspective, contrasting an upbeat and happy sound, with somewhat catchy melancholy lyrics- apt for a song titled ‘Emo’. Although the crowded venue may be down to the main act of the night, their upbeat rock/pop anthems are certain to make any impatient crowd tap a toe or two. For a band that only formed a year ago, the future seems bright, and they’re definitely one to watch.
As the time for Los Campesinos set approaches, the dance floor is filled with a second surge of enthusiasm. Walking on stage to Madonna’s ‘Like a Prayer’, a cheer ripples around the room, and the stage lights up to reveal the seven-piece band.
With six albums under their belt, it is safe to say that the night will be laden with big hits, many of which will be a trip down memory lane for earlier fans that have made it to tonight’s show.
They open up with a crowd-pleasing indie anthem, leaving plenty of pauses for the crowd to fill with lyrics memorised down to a T. Bathed in a glow of pink and red lighting, lead vocalist Gareth David passionately addresses the mass of fans in front of him, who have been managing as much “low lovely indie dancing” as possible in such a jam-packed venue: “We’re Los Campesinos and we are very happy for you to be here.”
Dripping with cynicism, lyrics ‘I was the first match struck at the first cremation/ You are my shallow grave’ open up their 2013 anthem ‘What Death Leaves Behind’, showing the bands progression from once being labelled twee-pop to a darker sound.
For a band who have seen a number of members come and go over the last few years, it seems that their fan base is still just as strong as ever, showing their passion with constant pumping fists and pint glasses held high in appreciation.
Bass player, Matthew Fiddler, protrudes perhaps the most energy, adding to their onstage presence. Alongside him, Gareth David’s body language shows that he is at home on stage, commanding the choir of music lovers in front of him. Synth lines intertwine and create a backing ambience that compliments all components of the band, and despite missing their once violin player, these lines are replaced by guitar riffs to ensure that not a single sound is lacking.
From ‘Hello Sadness’ to ‘The Sea Is a Good Place To Think About The Future’, melodic adroitness and lyrical melancholy is seeping through, but happiness is coming and it is clear the crowd are anticipating an old favourite they know is soon approaching.
“I’m not being modest,” says David, “its just something from that record (‘Hold On Now, Youngster’) that you all like.”
And right on cue, as the old familiar opening chords of “You! Me! Dancing!” burst into life, the room explodes into gleeful chaos. Any beer filled glasses once held in the air are now lost in this sea of commotion and, well, dancing.
The whole set is one of nostalgia, reminiscent of Leeds Festival circa 2007, back when indie rock anthems were a big player in most teen lives. And as chants of “one more song” fill the room, it is clear that no one is ready to leave that feeling behind.
Bruisings single ‘Emo Friends/Honey’ is available now via Beech Coma.