Wednesday, September 28, 2016

The First Time Ever I Saw Los Camps!

One of the best gigs I ever went to was the time Broken Social Scene played at The Point, a former church in Cardiff Bay that was one of the city's best venues back in 2006 but - infuriatingly - has since been closed down due to noise complaints from the neighbours.

Broken Social Scene are a phenomenal live act. It's rare to attend a sold-out show and see the stage as crowded with people as the dancefloor itself, but it wasn't just a case of strength in numbers: every person on that stage was giving it their all, creating a euphoric racket that we in the audience didn't tire of even after a marathon two-hour set plus encores.

But I'm not here today to talk about Broken Social Scene, or their two relentlessly awesome drummers, or how pleased I was when I and the guy next to me simultaneously shouted for I'm Still Your Fag and they actually played it. I'm here today to talk about the support act who kicked off that magical night at The Point.

Los Campesinos! are sort of a local treasure around these parts. I don't think any of the members were actually born in Cardiff, but they met at Cardiff University and as a result they treat the Welsh capital as their de facto hometown (which is fair enough; I wasn't actually born in Cardiff either).

Nowadays, Los Camps! are a somewhat well-known indie band with five acclaimed albums to their name, but back in August 2006, they were unknowns - just some random local band who had somehow landed the gig of their lives opening for Broken Social Scene. I remember overhearing a few of the Campesinos! chatting to their friends in the queue before doors opened, and they were clearly humbled by the prospect that lay before them. This wasn't just a favour from a promoter friend; the guys from Broken Social Scene had actually hand-picked Los Camps! to be the support act for their first ever Welsh gig, and they knew they had to put on the show of their lives.

And you know what? Even back then, they were really good. Myfanwy (the family friend who accompanied me to The Point that evening because I had only just turned 15 and my mum wouldn't let me go alone) actually enjoyed their set even more than Broken Social Scene's, and while I personally wouldn't go that far in my praise of them, their set was something very special. The violins and the glockenspiels and the clever, verbose songs were so different to the overly guitar-reliant indie music that was dominant in the mid-noughties, and certain tracks - particularly Don't Tell Me to Do the Math(s), You! Me! Dancing! and Sweet Dreams, Sweet Cheeks - stuck with me right up until I heard them on their debut album, Hold On Now, Youngster..., which was released the following year.

It's been just over 10 years since I saw Los Campesinos! for the first time at that Broken Social Scene gig. Earlier today, the band announced that they will be coming back to Cardiff for a hometown show in Clwb Ifor Bach on the 2nd of December. Tickets go on sale this Friday - I'm certain they'll sell out in a (broken) heartbeat, but nevertheless, if you can go then you definitely should. Hopefully I'll see you there.

1 comment:

  1. The first time I saw them was I think there, but not that gig.
    I swapped a signed pic of Jedward (don't ask) with Gareth for tickets...