A band that has gained a considerable amount of reputation for their live shows, Los Campesinos! showed why they deserve every bit of praise when they played Warehouse Live in Houston several weeks ago. Their manic brand of indie rock (which along with guitars and drums comes complete with glockenspiels, synthesizers, and a violin) is just as effective on stage as it is when it is listened to at high volume through a pair headphones. Couple this with their immense amounts of energy and musical talent, and you have the makings for another unforgettable evening with the Welsh septet. Knowing full well what to expect, their show at the Parish Room in Austin with Titus Andronicus is arguably the best one I’ve been to this year, I could hardly contain my excitement.

The San Fransisco-based group Girls, who have yet to release a proper album, provided the audience with an opening set that demonstrated an incredible amount of potential. The band had a very summery sound to them, and a very laid back aesthetic that was easy to get in to. The music was extremely catchy, and lead singer Christopher Owens sung like he had something to prove. While it is not anything radically different or entirely new, they played with confidence and interacted with the audience. Despite turning the volume up to unacceptable levels on their last two songs (not having earplugs at times like these is a bad idea), there was little to diminish my hopes for this band when it comes time to release their first album (ironically titled Album) in September.

As soon as Girls had received a favorable amount of applause from the eager crowd, people began to make their way towards the front. Los Campesinos! have a very loyal and dedicated fan base (yours truly among them), and it showed by the sheer amount of people packed into Warehouse Live’s smaller Studio room. When all seven members took their respective places on stage, there was nary a straight face in the room.

The band jumped right out of the gates with a cut off of their debut, 2008’s Hold on Now, Youngster, “This Is How You Spell… Haha We’ve Destroyed the Hopes and Dreams of A Generation of Faux-Romantics”. From then on, it was an hour of furious playing, entertaining banter, and beautiful, complex song after beautiful, complex song. One of the things that is so unique about the band is how seven people playing on at least five different instruments at the same time can sound so coherent and produce such memorable melodies. The band didn’t miss a note the whole night, and Gareth Campesinos! (each member has taken on the last name Campesinos!) and band mate Aleks provided the perfect male/female playoff on songs such as “Ways to Make it Through the Wall” and “Miserabilia”. The band also took the opportunity to test out some new material, which takes on the more hopeless, emotional tendencies of their second album, released only months after their first album, We Are Beautiful, We Are Doomed. Hearing these new songs played live makes the release of their third record, slated to release some time this year, all the more anticipated.

While I preferred their show in Austin simply because of how much I love the Parish Room as a venue, there was no denying that Los Campesinos! put on one hell of a performance. The band exerted so much energy and enthusiasm into their set that by the time they came back on stage to finish the night off with “Broken Heartbeats Sound Like Breakbeats”, it was anyone’s guess how they still had enough energy for Gareth and guitarist Neil to perform the entire song while dancing in the crowd. It was the exclamation point on a fantastic live set that left everyone in attendance completely drained of energy, but with feelings of giddiness and satisfaction to counterbalance.

Girls:

Girls 1

Girls 2

Los Campesinos!:

LC 2

LC 1

LC 3

LC 4

LC 5

LC! Houston

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