Midway through "We Are Beautiful, We Are Doomed", Los Campesinos! lead-singer Gareth speaks the line, "I taught myself the only way to vaguely get along in love/ is to like the other slightly less than you get in return" which seems like sound advice until the next line, "I feel like I'm being undercut!"
And so it is with the Welsh band who filled their show with those mantras and credos at Irving Plaza on Monday (4/26). It was the their first show in NYC since releasing Romance Is Boring, their second official full length. It was also their first show here with new member, Gareth's sister, Kim following the departure of Aleks last year. And though I missed seeing Aleks on stage, Kim more than held her own.
The band finally made it to New York having rescheduled the show from last Thursday due to the volcano in Iceland that disrupted many European bands with touring plans in the States. During a break, a few people in the crowd started chanting, "Fuck volcanoes! Fuck volcanoes!" And there were still some peripheral signs that all was not totally up to speed with their tour when Gareth mentioned they only had shirts to sell at the merch table. "We don't have any records for you. They're in Canada. And Canada won't let us have them."
But their set was killer. Going for just over an hour, it ended with half of the band (Gareth, Kim, Neil and touring member, Rob) in the crowd for the encore, "Broken Heartbeats Sound Like Breakbeats" and its own one-liner, "I'm taking far too many chances on these less than idealistic romances." It was those cathartic and anthemic moments that the crowd devoured, shouting along with Gareth, "We need more post-coital and less post-rock!" on "Straight in at 101" or "Can we all please just calm the fuck down!" n "There is a Flag. There is no wind."
The danciest number was always going to be "You! Me! Dancing!" and the build up was fantastic with Gareth up on the riser for Ollie's drum kit banging away at his cymbals. They followed that with the title track from "We Are Beautiful" and then into the slow, devastating burn of "The Sea Is a Good Place to Think of the Future." "She said one day to leave her /sand up to her shoulders / Waiting for the tide / To drag her to the ocean, to another sea's shore / This thing hurts like hell," Gareth sang alternating between a primal scream and painful calmness only for the crowd to join him in another cathartic line "But what did you expect?" before the song exploded with Harriet's violin and Rob's synths pulling the song's chorus along.
Cymbals Eat Guitars opened the show and is on tour with the European band now. More pictures and the setlist from Irving Plaza below...
Cymbals Eat Guitars