Review: Los Campesinos! May 11, 2010; San Diego Women’s Club

Photos by Eleanore Park

If the Arcade Fire ever went through an awkward post-adolescent pop punk phase and played at their high school prom, it would resemble a live performance by Los Campesinos!

The Welsh seven-piece performed the last show of their US tour last Tuesday at the San Diego Women’s Club. While the soundscape was a cacophony of bubblegum shouting, various instrumentals, and panic, LC! were undeniably catchy — so much so that the band could apparently do no wrong in the eyes of their audience. Even after lead singer Gareth Campesinos admitted his urge to throw up at any moment, the sea of twee youth appeared to swoon at the very idea.

The set consisted mainly of tracks from their third and latest album, Romance is Boring. In recent interviews, Gareth has described the album as being more “developed” and an expression of the band’s newfound maturity. The band may have grown up lyrically since the release of their debut album, Hold On Now, Youngster…, but their live performance still adhered to their time-tested formula of glockenspiel, infectious drums, and palpable shouting.

When Gareth explained to the audience that one song was about “how we are all going to die alone,” any sense of morbidity was immediately lost among the pop-riddled riffs, stunning brass, and violin. Though, that may be exactly the dichotomy that Los Campesinos! seek to convey.

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