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Old 02-07-2009, 04:15 PM   #106
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Fair enough. It's just that, you know...I'd basically skip my own wedding, for this show. Like, if Alex Campesinos! rolled up in this bitch and wanted to kick it, but said that she'd skip the show, in order to do so...? I'd have to turn her down. That's really saying something, too.

I mean, I'd give her my number and everything...but still. I'd turn that shit away, if it compromised the integrity of my attending tonight's gig.

Regarding doors, the sons of bitches at LSA aren't answering the phone for probably another few hours. I gotta figure out how to make my leg stop bouncing. I'm too amped for this show!
I hear you. Trust me, I want to be there, but, I have DNA coding that makes me uber-responsible at work.....since work is the thing that provides me with the means and ability to attend things like the Super Bowl, I have to be philosophical if it torpedoes plans like this now and then.

Either way, I hope you have an amazing time at the show!
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Old 02-07-2009, 04:18 PM   #107
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I have missed many a concert for work as well, NSW. I feel your pain.
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Old 02-07-2009, 04:20 PM   #108
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I have missed many a concert for work as well, NSW. I feel your pain.
I've missed a lot of crap for work, but like I said, because of work I've seen tons of shit I'd not have been able to see otherwise.

Glad you can relate, though....some people don't. I always want life to come first, and it usually does, but sometimes you just have to make sacrifices. Or, at least, sometimes I have to.
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Old 02-07-2009, 04:21 PM   #109
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Well, I'll be looking for somebody who looks like a Steelers fan, believe me. Come late, if you can. Even if you could only make it to hear the coda for "Sweet Dreams, Sweet Cheeks," at the end, you know that it'd be worth it. Oh, what joy we'll all feel!
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Old 02-07-2009, 04:22 PM   #110
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Well, I'll be looking for somebody who looks like a Steelers fan, believe me. Come late, if you can. Even if you could only make it to hear the coda for "Sweet Dreams, Sweet Cheeks," you know that it'd be worth it. Oh, what joy we'll all feel!
If I can make it for just 1/2 the show, I'd gladly do so.

We Steeler fans are easy to spot lately. We look fucking happy.
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Old 02-07-2009, 04:25 PM   #111
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Fair enough. It's just that, you know...I'd basically skip my own wedding, for this show. Like, if Alex Campesinos! rolled up in this bitch and wanted to kick it, but said that she'd skip the show, in order to do so...? I'd have to turn her down. That's really saying something, too.

I mean, I'd give her my number and everything...but still. I'd turn that shit away, if it compromised the integrity of my attending tonight's gig.
I'd roll any of the girls in that group.

Luckily, I've already seen them play, so I'd be able to make that deal.
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Old 02-07-2009, 11:14 PM   #112
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Man, this is going to be a loooong post....

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I think that I'll have to take issue with the Pixies thing, but I've never heard a song by The Ting Tings. Turned off their Glasto set about 30 seconds in, and fastforwarded to something else. Their name sure sounds like Los Campesinos!'s music sounds, so I'm willing to bet that you're spot-on. What kind of stuff do they do?

If I had to spot the influences with this band, the first stop would be Pavement (at least in a compositional/emotional sense). The band itself has said this, time and again, and I really do agree. Happy pop songs with somber undercurrents. With or without the "Frontwards" cover, I think that this is unmistakable. Then I feel you've gotta go for Broken Social Scene; especially with the post-rock creeping back in (the band started out not as a pop band, but as a Godspeed!-style, epic, Canadian-esque skygaze band), for We Are Beautiful, We Are Doomed, I think that it really fits. There's a reason why Dave Newfeld and Arts & Crafts wanted this band so badly. Architecture in Helsinki also has to spring to mind, as for a very brief period, right when LC! was breaking, it was kind of hard to tell the two bands apart. And then, of course, there's the whole riot grrrl thing...pick a band, really. They even worked with John Goodmanson, for the second album.

And are we thinking of the same Kills? The minimalist-skronk duo? The last record of theirs I heard was No Wow, so maybe I'm too uninformed to have a strong opinion, but that, I'm not hearing. I mean, The Velvet Underground used distortion, feedback, and female vocals, too...but they sure as shit didn't sound like LC!.

Not trying to call you out or something, MrMac. The more time you spend, around here, the more of these kinds of windy posts you'll see. Just stating my opinion, providing context, and so forth. ...I'm really not so sure, about them showing a Pixies influence. Where are you hearing it? I would hardly mind a Pixies influence, either. Great band. You see that documentary, from a year or two ago? Pretty solid, if sugary, stuff. Refuses to ask a lot of the hard questions, but it was still oftentimes entertaining. Santiago seems like the most unassuming guy in the world...
Well, I guess that I would call The Ting Tings indie pop. But I'm not great with words, especially in this case, where english is not my first language. Their sound is pop at its heart, but with some different feel. I mean, most of the songs seem like something you could easily hear on the radio, but at the same time they are "weird". But no, I don't think they sound like LC!, but for some particular non-specific reason, it reminded me.
Hmmm... I can't say about Pavement, since I haven't heard they yet. (Something I intend to correct asap.) Btw, your description of Pavement with the happy songs could fit TTT, only instead of the "somber undercurrents" there's even more happiness and a dance feel.
But I can tell only for this post that you know a LOT more stuff than I do. Actually, I'm only starting to listen to these "lesser-known" bands.
About The Kills, it's kinda the same situation as TTT, some unkown personal reason reminded me of then, except that their last album "Midnight Boom" seems like modern version of the sound that is on We Are Beautiful.... (I know, Midnight Boom came before... but like I said, no particular reason.)
The band that I felt that really infueces LC!'s sound is Pixies, their sound is very much alike, especially on the Doolittle album. Songs like "I Bleed" and "Dead" seems to be something LC! heard during the sessions for this album. But again, music sounds different to each ear... maybe it's just me. Look at the songs I mentioned to phillyfan below and you'll see from where I'm getting that feel. One thing I would like to correct is my statement about they being not really original... they are very infuenced by Pixies, but they do have a particular sound.
Oh, no problem. I appreciate your post, I mean, you took your time to discuss my opinions. That's great. Oh, and I haven't seen the doc.

Cheers!

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I'm curious as to what songs you think would fit on Doolittle.
Hmmm... Miserabilia, the title track, All Your Kayfabe Friends (not so much), Ways to Make It Through the Wall...

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What about MrMacPhisto?

And have you tried Sticking Fingers Into Sockets? I don't mean the Los Camp! EP, I mean actually trying it with your own fingers.

Well, like I said... We Are Beautiful was my first try with then, and since I really liked... I intend to download more stuff from then asap.
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Old 02-08-2009, 03:29 AM   #113
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(This sounds a bit different than a typical post because I'm going to be attempting to publish it, in some way.)

It's 1:05 in the morning, as I take a seat in front of my trusty computer. Images of graffiti genitalia, from ceiling to floor, still linger fresh in my memory, and the sounds of people speaking in many-years-practiced hushed tones still ring in my ears. Tonight, I saw the best band in the entire world--the Welsh (by way of England/Russia), wall-of-post-rock, hyper-pop seven-piece, Los Campesinos!--play in my city, Chicago.

After six consecutive weeks with at least six inches of snow on the ground, the weather finally broke, today. The high was up into the upper 50s, in some places, and the overnight low has only been somewhere in the mid-30s; it felt glorious, let me tell you. It didn't feel that great in the Logan Square Auditorium, the venue at which the band, along with solid openers Titus Andronicus, played the best gig I've seen in years. The venue throbbed with heat, humidity, and sweat. As I type this, I keep pulling away from myself--I smell like 200 people at once, each of them currently in desperate need of a shower. The venue felt awful.

At least in my own experience, the Logan Square Auditorium is one of the worst places in the city, as far as audiences go. It seems to attract the detritus of the hipster culture (which is worse in Chicago than in other places, because everybody here's so aware that Chicago is a "Second City" that they're even more hyper-aware and desperate than the typical hipster scum), and most of the audience for last evening's show hardly dispelled that notion. These people reeked of misplaced and confused desperation, at times making it nearly unbearable for me to stand and wait for team Campesinos! to take the stage. With these people, you identify your star sign by asking yourself which is least compatible with whoever asked you. I was surrounded by a share of decent folks, of course, but by and large...the crowd just seemed awful.

To top it off, I didn't feel all that great, myself! I'm a Type 1 diabetic, and (of all the fucking nights!) my blood sugar decided to set upon me like a starving vulture, ravenously pecking at me and trying to eat my pancreas. Damn extended metaphors...sometimes, I just get carried away. At any rate, I found myself repeatedly having to pop a bit of food in my mouth, to get my hands to stop shaking and to fight off one of those headaches that seems to roll in right behind your eyes and above your ears. Terrible business, that. At times, I felt pretty awful.

The show, though...man. The show had not a hint of awful. This was one of the best I've ever seen, in spite of all of this. Awfully magical, this one. The band brought loads and loads of energy to the gig, not to mention a seemingly genuine fondness for the city and the ravenous fans therein. Their first U.S. show was in Chicago, so I suppose one could venture to say that they've at least something resembling roots, here. Warmth emanated from the stage--not only literally, either! Also figuratively!

From my spot right in the front (anybody at the show hopefully doesn't remember my hand embarrassingly miming along, in time, with Gareth's words, as he said, "With your little, middle, index, and ring fingers!"), I could see how simultaneously terrified and overjoyed the band seemed, for the first three or four songs. They were clearly visible, before they took the stage, and they did a big, group "We must protect this house!" kinda deal, right before coming on. Quite cute!

This show provided them with their largest ever indoor audience, according to Gareth, and they clearly felt humbled by and a bit nervous about the experience, as they kicked things off. You could see them saying things like, "My God...can you believe this?" to one another, both in between and during songs. The band responded not by shrinking from the challenge of playing to such a large (and shockingly devoted, by and large) and probably intimidating audience, but rather by obliterating its setlist. It felt like a full-on assault. Like many of the band's songs and influences (particularly riot grrrl bands), the show often felt like a statement of purpose, or even a kind of fanzine-inspired call-to-arms.

Something about a room of 1,000 people screaming in unison, "Shout at the world, because the world doesn't love you! Lower yourself, because you know that you'll have to!" just really hit home, for a lot of people. Moments like these, as joyous and nearly transcendent as they were, were almost a dime a dozen. Such was the brilliance of the show. I feel almost that lines from "You'll Need Those Fingers for Crossing," a song sadly not included in a setlist pretty equally split between songs from the band's two 2008 opuses, Hold On Now, Youngster... and We Are Beautiful, We Are Doomed, sum up this band, its worldview, and its intentions with a few simple turns of phrase. At once, this "stanza" states everything this band is--at once grandiose and miniaturist, at once flagrant and poetic, at once self-obsessed and, dare I use a loaded and impossible term, universal:

You worry a million rain drops will die
with their last memory of you and I
in a soft-porn version of the end of the world.
I quake at the knees, as my intentions unfurl.
You wrote a letter to God. "Just in case," you said.
"I'm nothing, if I'm not a pragmatist."
You needn't worry about us,
we can look after ourselves.
We have learnt not to rely on you or anyone else.


Perhaps my emergence into adulthood as a brutally focused and enraged/feeling disenfranchised intellectual, in the wake of 8 years of the Bush administration, has something to do with the resonance I feel, in these words. I suppose that I don't really know, for sure, and that I probably won't, for some time. What I do know is that, right now, they feel like a manifesto. They feel like a way to make my own way through the wall.

So, the show...! The band utterly and mercilessly destroyed these songs; of course, I say that in only the most flattering way possible. Opening with "Ways to Make It Through the Wall" and then exploding into a spot-on version of "The International Tweexcore Underground" (a magnificent, non-album "concept" single, produced on record by mad scientist/Broken Social Scenester/Super Furry Producer Dave Newfeld), the band came out with a fiery determination to combat their starry, awestruck eyes. They hit like a blow to the head; like a smash to the skull; like a knee to the chest.

Lead singer and primary lyricist Gareth Campesinos! spoke at length, throughout the set, and readily dispelled the still-being-written myth that he is a combative, difficult performer. Quite unlike the person often portrayed in interviews, his demeanor welcomed in the audience. He was charming, affable, talkative, adept at dealing with hecklers (the refrain of "Speak English, motherfucker!" was a bit too prevalent, for my taste--again, a crowd of idiots), and, yes, even kind. This show had easily the most even sexual demographic of any show I've ever attended. No joke. 50/50. Maybe their cover of Bikini Kill's "In Accordance to Natural Law," on the "My Year In Lists" concept single drew in a whole bunch of militant feminists? I don't know. It certainly didn't bother me, and it certainly did inspire me to see most of the people in front...were women/girls! It was a joy to behold, so to speak. It felt so much more inclusive than most of those kinds of situations do.

Things got surprisingly rough in the front, though, and it was here where GC!'s kindness and consideration shone through. In between songs, he would stoop down and ask the people in the front, "Are you guys okay? Are you sure? If you need any help or anything, just let us know, and we'll take care of you." He personally promised to fuck up anybody who hurt anybody else, throughout the show. It felt good to have the band so vocally on the side of the poor, incredibly brave chicks no taller than 5 feet who were right there in the pit (yes, I said "pit") with all the big guys, like myself.

For a band as tightly and meticulously produced and recorded as this one, the show featured predictably little overt improvisation, but still left some room for an unexpected moment or two. "Do you kiss your mommy's lips, with that mouth?" became "Do you suck your daddy's dick, with that mouth?" in "Documented Minor Emotional Breakdown #1," for example, and guitarist and band-founder Neil Campesinos! even took to a surprise bout of crowd-surfing (eventually crash-landing back on stage, nearly taking out Gareth's glockenspiel), much to the exasperation and bewilderment of his bandmates, during the band's blow-out three-part finale: "You! Me! Dancing!" (during which Gareth disappeared into the audience, singing from the middle of the floor), "Sweet Dreams, Sweet Cheeks" (with half the band standing on the floor monitors, screaming along with the audience for the coda), and, finally, "Broken Heartbeats Sound Like Breakbeats" (which just exploded, nearly tearing down the place, in the process).

The most levity came during "Miserabilia," perhaps the standout track from the band's latest release. As the song neared its conclusion, also-drunk-on-the-audience Titus Andronicus frontman Patrick Stickles crept up behind Gareth, grabbed his package on the "I can only guess that she thinks about it, when she touches herself" line, and then leapt straight into the audience. We passed him around, for a while, and everybody on stage sort of had a big "WTF?" moment. I laughed, as did Ellen, at several times, while watching me insanely bellow even the most tangled of lines. Levity for the win. Nothing like a good chuckle, to bring you back to the real world and remind you that, no, this band can't actually save the world. It's just a band. Four sweaty boys with guitars can't tell you anything about your life, right?

All the same, this is where this piece has been taking me--towards my own statement of purpose. My own LiveJournal manifesto. Really, it's nothing too groundbreaking or even particularly interesting. It's just the truth, and a new consideration of what that is. You see, I don't think that Los Campesinos! is the best band in the world; I know that it is. Quite simply, there is no room for debate. Absolutely none. For the first time in my life (well...maybe I very briefly felt the same way, after The Fiery Furnaces released Blueberry Boat), I think that you're an idiot, if you don't love this band. I really do. Maybe The Velvet Underground isn't for everybody; maybe '87-'98 U2 didn't float your boat; maybe the Talking Heads were, at times, neo-colonial in the worst imaginable ways; maybe The Hold Steady's Separation Sunday was a record you felt like you'd already heard, and didn't really need to revisit; maybe Radiohead's (always been) a bit willfully inscrutable. Whatever. Fair play. With this band, it's different.

Anecdote: I was just discussing, the other day, how I don't cry at shows. It just doesn't happen, or has at least happened so infrequently as to be a non-issue. Tonight, I cried on the way home. I cried while listening to a song and thinking about the show. I cried because I was so happy. It was a happy song. It made me cry.

If you were at this show, then you probably understand. If you weren't, then I pity you. This is the best band in the world, bar none. I don't say things like this. Ever. I say, "My favorite band in the world, right now, is ______," and leave it at that, as strong as my opinion may be. Of course, only assholes say things like, "Well, usually I don't feel this way. Now, I do. Therefore, I must be right." No, jackass--you just feel differently than you usually do. Get some fucking perspective. Here, though, is ample perspective. Here is something to believe in. Here is something to get behind. Here is a band which writes a song with a title like "This is How You Spell, 'HAHAHA, We Destroyed the Hopes and Dreams of a Generation of Faux Romantics'" and gets away with it, because the song is so unbearably great. Here is a band which perfectly understands how it feels to be young, to begin growing old, to be overjoyed, to be angry, to be assured, to be confused, to be hopeful, to be hopeless, to be human. I don't even care, if I sound like an asshole. If you don't get it, then you haven't seen it or heard it.

If you don't believe me, then I don't care. It's your loss. If this band were to call it quits, tomorrow, I'd have no regrets. I got an e-mail from an old friend, actually, right around the time I got home. He said that the only band he'd seen play two shows in one day was Los Campesinos!; for me, this is the only band which has ever released two of the best records of the decade (not to mention the year) in the span of 6 months. Also for me, this is the only band which has done so much with just two records that I don't even actually need any more. I'll always keep coming back for more, as long as there's more to come back for, but they've done enough. They've re-taught me how to love music, how to be awestruck, how to strip away pretense, and how to dance like I'm in my bedroom.

They've reminded me what it means and feels like and how to believe. In something. In anyone. In yesterday. In tomorrow.

In myself.

YouTube - Los Campesinos - We Throw Parties, You Throw Knives

YouTube - Los Campesinos - You! Me! Dancing!

And I always get confused,
because in supermarkets, they turn the lights off when they want you to leave,
but in discos, they turn them on.
And it's always sad to go. But it's never that sad,
because there's only so many places you're guaranteed on getting a hug, when you leave.
And then, on the way home, it always seems like a good idea to go paddling in the fountain.
And that's because it IS a good idea.
And we're just like how Rousseau depicts man in the state of nature:
we're undeveloped, we're ignorant, we're stupid.
But we're happy.
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Old 02-08-2009, 04:04 AM   #114
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Talked to Ollie, after the show. Asked about Newfeld. He said that there are no plans to work together in the foreseeable future. Said that they got along great, but that Newf's too busy, these days, and that they gotta work with what they got.

Gareth was really nice, too, when we talked. I thanked him on behalf of all the Japanese not-the-scenesters-you're-thinking of for playing, over there. It really means a lot to them, because bands so rarely make it all the way out to that side of the world. He said that the shows were magic. I thanked him, and he signed one of my singles.

I was happy. Great night. Really, really great night.
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Old 02-08-2009, 05:52 AM   #115
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POST OF THE YEAR.

For real, IYS. Your enthusiasm is totally contagious, and I wish I could have been there with you and the rest of the crowd, even if you accurately pinpointed Chicago hipsters for the second-rate, defensive, self-conscious bitches that they are. This is how I felt when I first discovered Pavement and saw them live, and I never wanted that feeling to end.

Glad you got to finally experience Los Camp live, as I did, albeit on a smaller scale in Washington, D.C. last May. It doesn't get much better.

Shame on NSW for not making it.
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Old 02-08-2009, 08:31 AM   #116
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They play this area on Thursday and now I'm even more disappointed I cannot go.
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Old 02-08-2009, 11:42 AM   #117
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Great post, IYS.

I wish I could talk that way about the things that make me feel that way, but I just lack the eloquence....
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Old 02-08-2009, 12:55 PM   #118
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How old are you, Laz? Same question to you, NSW. I am very curious.
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Old 02-08-2009, 12:56 PM   #119
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36.

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Old 02-08-2009, 12:57 PM   #120
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Great post, IYS.

I wish I could talk that way about the things that make me feel that way, but I just lack the eloquence....
The important thing is to feel it, though. That's why the band's eloquence feels so brilliant--they take the burden from your shoulders, so that you can just feel it.
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