Los Campesinos! at The Hope & Ruin, Brighton

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Indie band Los Campesinos! formed back in 2006 while at Cardiff University and have five successful studio albums under their belts. They took some time off from their nine to five jobs for their recent Old ‘n’ Gross tour. The seven-piece took to the stage at the Hope & Ruin in Brighton for their penultimate live date.

The Hope & Ruin itself is worth mentioning as much as the show itself. The downstairs bar area is adorned with fairy lights, quirky knick-knacks, bizarre furniture, and a built-in caravan at the end of the bar. The show was in the small room upstairs, which had fantastic sound quality despite the intimate nature of the venue.

Support came from Bruising, a band from Leeds, headed by singer and guitarist Naomi Baguley. They managed to draw and maintain a considerable crowd, which is to their credit considering they came on only 15 minutes after doors opened. Their performance was fun and full of energy, albeit slightly scrappy at times, which is to be expected seeing as they have only been a band for a year. In the few songs that they played they established their clear indie pop style, which had a Weezer-esque vibe to it.

At just before 9.30pm, Los Campesinos! came onto the stage to Madonna’s ‘Like A Prayer’, which got everyone dancing and singing along before they even started playing. This set the tone for the entire show as the crowd was moving from start to finish. The band opened with ‘As Lucerne/The Low’, which is from their most recent album No Blues. This was a solid opener as it showed immediately how tight and in sync they all were as a band. Firm favourites ‘Romance is Boring’ and ‘What Death Leaves Behind’ soon followed, which gave front-man Gareth David a chance to showcase his dance moves.

As is to be expected, slightly awkward yet hilarious stage banter ensued in between songs, a trademark of Los Campesinos! The band also made promises of album number six in 2016, which fans of the band will no doubt be pleased about, seeing as they haven’t released an album since 2013.  Other stand-out tracks included ‘By Your Hand’, ‘Hello Sadness’ and ‘Avocado, Baby’, which maintained the pace and atmosphere of the set . Things slowed down a bit when they played ‘The Sea Is A Good Place To Think About The Future’, which reminded the crowd that the band’s songs can be just as heartfelt as they are fun and upbeat.

Despite telling the crowd that the show was ending there, the band returned for a couple of extra songs for their encore. Although, that wasn’t before Gareth David joked with the audience about how they didn’t seem excited enough for their return. It only took a few notes before everyone twigged that ‘You! Me! Dancing!’ was to follow, and it was one of the best received tracks of the night. The band and crowd alike were dancing around throughout, with David and drummer, Jason Adelina, amusingly throwing drumsticks to one another. Their set sadly came to an end with ‘Baby I Got The Death Rattle’, which was an unexpected but worthy final song.

Overall, the gig was upbeat, fun, and enjoyable from start to finish. Through their flawless performance, Los Campesinos! showed that being in the music industry for almost ten years certainly pays off. Their set was a perfect mixture of new and old, and were on stage long enough to showcase a considerable amount of their discography. I am struggling to find anything vaguely negative about the set and would highly recommend seeing Los Campesinos! if you ever get the chance in the future.

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