Friday, June 08, 2007

Los Campesinos! The Point, Cardiff

Last Monday night in a deconsecrated church in Cardiff's docklands Los Campesinos! officially launched their infectious new single You! Me! Dancing! No need for evangelism here though - a quick glance at the smiley faced multitude indicated they were already preaching to the converted.

The Cathays-based septet fairly breezed through their short but perfectly formed set. Highlights included: Don't Tell Me To Do The Math; We Throw Parties, You Throw Knives; and the aforementioned You! Me! Dancing! All concise, sharp, indie pop gems delivered with the band's trademark energy and wit.

Gareth Campesinos in particular seems to have star quality in abundance. Sporting a glitter-stripe across one cheek he came on like a low-rent Ziggy Stardust. His jerky dance moves and camp posturing forming a perfect visual counterpoint to the heads down intent of the rest of the band.

These are interesting times for Los Campesinos! Currently in the middle of their finals they are preparing to leave the comfort of the campus to take on the professional slog of touring and recording. A clutch of American dates have already been lined up and their debut album is scheduled for release in early 2008.

Pioneer exploiters of the myspace network the big question for them now is whether they can make the transition from cyberspace to the real world. The time has arrived for Los Campesinos to stand up and prove that they are more than just smart kids with media savvy.

The early signs are good. Their Cardiff gig climaxed with a raucous rendition of crowd favourite Sweet Dreams, Sweet Cheeks which saw sticksman Ollie charging to the front of the stage to lead a blissful sing-a-long. If they can keep churning out songs of this quality then they've certainly got a chance.

So, are the band worldly enough to make it in the harsh, unforgiving arena of popular music? Outside the venue I tested Gareth's rock'n'roll credentials by inviting him to come and meet some drag queens midweek. "Can't - got an exam," he pined. He looked thoughtful. "Would I have to dress up?" The glitter on his cheek sparkled in the moonlight. "I'm free next week..." That's the spirit son.

You! Me! Dancing! is released this week on Wichita records.

* The photograph of Gareth Campesinos live at The Point, Cardiff, is used with kind permission of ace snapper Maciej Dakowicz.