Photos by LP
In the six years of being a band, Los Campesinos! had never been to Miami. But on Saturday, June 30th, the seven piece Welsh band finally graced us with their presence by cramming tightly onto Bardot’s carpet. They were loud, they were sincere, and they didn’t hold back, though a good percentage of the audience seemed to have been there by chance, paying to get in solely so they could get in. That aspect could be looked at in two ways. In one angle, one could conclude that it detracted from the heartfelt performance because of the incessant chatter looming in the background by those not particularly involved in the show. And the other, you could say that perhaps those members of the audience unaware of the musical guests had discovered their new favorite band! That idea can’t go without mentioning that Los Campesinos! were not alone that night though, but were joined by touring supporters, Yellow Ostrich.
Yellow Ostrich, a three piece from New York (though they didn’t sound like it), were proof that it is ALWAYS worth it to come early and watch the opening band, a statement I will stand by until my dying day. Remember, all of your favorite bands were opening up for someone else in their early days. They played a set sprinkled with songs from both their debut The Mistress and sophomore albums Strange Land. With a skillful use of looping both vocals and guitar, as well as prevalent and distinct drum parts, they created a thoroughly layered sound as songs went on. Often beginning meek and cautious, each song took on a different yet equally climactic turn producing more sound than you’d believe from only three members. On the surface, Yellow Ostrich and Los Campesinos! music aren’t extremely similar besides the fact they’re both quality bands. What brings the two together though, is the profound sincerity and unvarnished truth that they both convey. Neither band is trying to be someone else, or trying to accomplish a certain likeable “sound”. They were purely themselves, and it’s refreshing to see a band perform who they are without any other strain.
This is a trait that can be found in all of Los Campesinos!’s music, and consequently, their dynamic on stage (or carpet). It is so easy to become enamored by Los Campesinos!, and the reason is simple. In all of our lives we have either coward away from the truth, or desperately desired it. Though the reality of things can be a scary concept, it is still something we all hunger for deep down- and often times it is art and music that will give it to us. Los Campesinos! do just that. Their frequently autobiographical lyrics (written mostly by lead singer Gareth Campesinos) leave behind no dirty or embarrassing detail, nor do they fail to capture emotions as real and true as the day they were felt. Los Campesinos! are a band that put it all out on the line, and do so without hesitation or regret- and the same follows through in their live performance.
Whether they were chanting the opener, “By Your Hand,” a song dazzling with clumsy sexuality, or passionately belting out the emotional narrative of “The Sea Is A Good Place To Think of The Future,” they were loud and honest and willing to share all that they had with those who were present and wanted to hear it. The show was not for those gallivanting about, endlessly gossiping with a drink in their hand- but rather, for the crowd of 30 or so, (mostly in a cluster at the front) who danced and sang their hearts out with the band, wishing to share an experience as genuine and true as the music that Los Campesinos! make.