Monday, January 21, 2019

Los Campesinos! @ Lollapalooza

Posted by teibs On August - 10 - 2009

loscampsurf1@ZackTeibloom Los Campesinos! is the kind of band that could be my favorite at a smaller festival like Pitchfork, but surely a band who admitted they couldn’t believe they were asked back after playing  Lolla two years ago, couldn’t be my favorite show of the whole festival, could they?

Los Campesinos! oozed charm, frenetic enthusiasm, gave a touching tribute to Elliot Smith and had the lead singer crowd surfing while singing. It’s You! It’s Me! It’s Los Campesinos! It’s the best show I saw at Lollapalooza 2009.

The seven-piece indie-rock band from Wales pulls a trick from The Ramones bag and says all their last names are Campesino, which means peasant. After seeing some YouTube videos of sparsely attended Los Campesinos! shows and the shy demeanor of lead singer Gareth Campesino, I was worried they wouldn’t put on a dynamic enough show to hold their own at the main stage.

I  wasn’t the only one concerned. Gareth said he couldn’t believe Lollapalooza asked them back after their showing last time they were here at Lolla, but he has a special place in his heart for Chicago because that was their first ever U.S show. Los Campesinos! charm lies in the wonderful interplay between the shouting from Gareth, Aleks’  sweetly complimenting vocals, Harriet’s lovely violin, the xylaphone and guitars, bass and drums filling a full lush sound that bursts at the seams until this happens:

Gareth constantly, needlessly, said “thank you for your patience” after nearly every song and looked at an onstage clock and asked “Do we really have half an hour left? Did we just play our songs twice as fast as normal?” No need for the nerves, Los Campesinos! blew up the main stage.

Competing with Of Montreal for hardest to remember song titles, they opened with “This Is How You Spell “Hahaha, We Destroyed The Hopes And Dreams Of A Generation Of Faux-Romantics” and followed it with a song title I fiercely disagree with, “Death to Los Campesinos!” Gareth moved around the stage with a fervor in his Abe Vigoda t-shirt and j’orts at a frenetic pace.

When he wasn’t leading the band through quick bursts of song, he acknowledged that Elliot Smith would have turned 40 this weekend and music is worse for having lost him. It was a touching tribute I didn’t hear anyone else make all weekend.

After Gareth lost momentum when he panicked about having to fill half an hour, he kicked it up a notch and went from “They’re playing the main stage” status to “They better play the main stage from now on” status.

“It’s You! It’s Me! It’s Dancing!” was everything I hoped it would be and “Sweet Dreams, Sweet Cheeks” was everything I couldn’t have dreamed Los Campesinos! could be and then some. Long live Los Campesinos!


1 Response

  1. Romance is Boring? « rockloveaustin Said,

    […] we didn’t know this going in. I’ve known this band for years, even calling them the best show of Lollapalooza 2008 in a 9.7/10 review on Festival Crashers. Caitlin’s been catching up to loving them the last few months, and in typical Caitlin […]

    Posted on February 21st, 2012 at 8:33 am

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