It’s the last night in the UK for Los Campesinos!’s tour, but the energy tonight is so great it could just as easily be the first. Support comes from the fantastic Tall Ships, whose math rock tracks get the audience going ahead of the main act. In particular, one group of lads towards the front seem even more excited for the support than they do Los Campesinos! – with songs reminiscent of 65daysofstatic, it’s easy to see why. Songs such as ‘Chemistry’, which is helpfully introduced as “a song about chemistry”, show us that Tall Ships are definitely a band to look out for.
After the supports thank the audience for coming down early to hear them, they depart from the stage and we’re left waiting for the main event. The crowd is surprisingly varied – there are band t-shirts from various points in the band’s career dotted about The Leadmill, and quite a few older groups, but there are also a number of younger gig-goers who look very much to be only interested in one beer-ific anthem, rather than tracks from newest album Hello Sadness or older fan-favourites. For a second, it seems that the energy of tonight’s gig isn’t going to exist – the band comes on to the delicately sad intro of ‘Hate For The Island’, and it appears that this is going to be a serious gig. But our fears are assuaged by the band launching into ‘By Your Hand’ – another new song. We’re treated to hit after hit, with ‘Romance Is Boring’ and ‘Death To Los Campesinos!’ also featuring early on in the set, and proving that the band don’t mind playing the same old favourites they’ve played for years now.
Gareth Campesinos! is his usual self on stage, taking time to banter with the audience (or, in one case, call someone out for being a dick). His personal brand of quirky dancing whilst singing is enjoyable as always, and the band as a whole work brilliantly on stage together. ‘You! Me! Dancing!’ is played towards the end of the set, with its usual introduction of “This is a song about beer”, and those aforementioned young’uns go crazy, particularly when a sly lyric is changed to name-drop Budweiser. It’s in stark contrast to the slow and sombre ‘To Tundra’ which precedes it, although fans singing along to the chorus clearly appreciate it just as much. Members of the crowd seem to enjoy both the old and newer fan-favourites equally. ‘Songs About Your Girlfriend’ gets people dancing just as much as ‘Knee Deep At ATP’, from their debut album. With four (including mini-album/extended EP We Are Beautiful, We Are Doomed) albums of potential songs to play, it’s fantastic to see a variety.
Los Campesinos! end, as ever, on ‘Sweet Dreams, Sweet Cheeks’ for their encore. They promise to stick around to meet fans, proving that a band with the saddest song titles (‘We Are Beautiful, We Are Doomed’ gets played during the gig’) can still be a lovely bunch.