Monday, May 19, 2008

Paint the Town Orange

May 15th, 2008: Music Hall of Williamsburg - Brooklyn, NY - Los Campesinos w/ Murder Mystery
Review and Images by Dominck Mastrangelo

Time Out New York suggested last week that Los Campesinos! add a few more exclamation points to their name to fully convey the Welsh band's high-energy, punk/pop sound. Yet in the wake of their performance last Thursday at the Music Hall of Williamsburg, I suggest this slight adjustment - LOS CAMPESINOS!!!!!

The seven-piece outfit from Cardiff burned through their hour-long set like Wayne Rooney on a breakaway, clear on goal. The quietest moment of the set was the final minute of their first song, "Broken Heartbeats Sound Like Breakbeats." Lead singer Gareth, likely knowing this, took the opportunity to sit down, cross legged, back to the crowd. From that point on there was little time to catch your breath. The rambunctious "Death To Los Campesinos!" with Gareth and Alexandra trading lines and finishing each others sentences chased the equally upbeat "Don't Tell Me To Do The Math(s)" (mp3) with it's pretty chorus delivered by Alexandra.

And on it went until the slow build up of the much anticipated dance/punk-pop anthem "You! Me! Dancing!" (or, perhaps, YOU! ME! DANCING!) that had the packed crowd clapping rhythmically all the way through the two-minute intro as guitars and violin and drums crescendo to the simple guitar hook before whole band exploded again. This was followed by dancing and the crowd singing along in full voice "It's You! It's Me! And there's Dancing!" as well as to the line "If there's one thing I can never confess, is that I can't dance a single step." You can now add Los Campesinos! to that rare list of bands that in concert you are guaranteed to have a lot of fun; a shortlist that contains bands such as the Flaming Lips and Decemberists.

Opening were New York band, Murder Mystery, and I would personally find it troubling if one wasn't caught up in the pure joy the band exudes during it's set. Smiles were abundant during their 40-minute set and with plenty of snappy, rock songs in the vein of Magnetic Fields or For Sale-era Beatles and even a dash of the Strokes for good measure, it's easy to see why. Jaunty rockers like "Huggin'" with it's shuffling beat and sharp guitar work and the under-two minute "What My Baby Said" took you back to a time when bands were sharp enough to say everything that needed to be said in less than three minutes. And there was hardly a moment when drummer Laura Coleman wasn't swinging her head back and forth or up and down in mannerisms alarmingly similar to a certain drummer in a rather famous British band. Oh and of course she was smiling out from behind her kit the entire time. Though most of the material came from their new record Are You Ready for the Heartache Cause Here it Comes, the band did work in a new song, "Apple," and then closed with Heartache's synth-induced "Love Astronaut" (mp3) Let's add them to the shortlist too.

Murder Mystery was recently featured over at Daytrotter... read and download here.

Los Campesinos will be in Chicago @ the Empty Bottle on May 26th and 27th. For all of their upcoming tour dates visit their myspace page.

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