(see also: Aaron and Ilana Go to Concerts!)
May 7 - Los Campesinos! - Regency Grand Ballroom
A little more than a year ago, Ilana and I saw Los Campesinos! at Slim's. Slim's is one of the smaller venues in San Francisco. It was a great show. It did not sell out.
A couple weeks ago, Ilana, Heather, Merrick, and I saw Los Campesinos! at the Regency Grand Ballroom. The Regency Grand Ballroom is one of the larger venues in San Francisco.
As you could probably guess, this one didn't sell out, either. Not even close.
But it was still a great show.
I don't know who booked the Regency Grand Ballroom for this band. I respect their optimism. I really do. But this is a band on the downside of the blog buzz cycle. They were hotter last year, when they still weren't selling out much smaller venues.
Seriously ... the place was maybe a quarter full. Maybe.
And this was awesome.
It was like watching a band play in your living room. Huge, open expanses to do the kind of spastic, stop-and-start dancing LC!'s music demands. Two or three available bartenders for every patron. Finally, uninterrupted sight lines for Ilana! As a concertgoer, it turns out that I'm totally fine with being basically the only person there.
I don't know what it must be like for a band, though ... traveling thousands of miles to play for a largely empty room. It must be hard on your ego. It must have some effect. Gareth admitted as much toward the end of the show, saying, "We know we're not ready for a room like this." If you were going to take a night off, emotionally, this would have to be it.
And yet, the band really seemed invested in the performance, bringing the energy and intensity that their songs require.
I know it always sound weird to praise people for doing what they're supposed to do. I always roll my eyes when some sportscaster gushes about an athlete "really playing hard," as if this were somehow above and beyond his responsibilities. I don't want to do that here. All I'm saying is that, on paper, it made sense for Los Campesinos! to mail this one in. And they didn't. And I appreciate that.
Even though they're one of my favorite bands, I haven't written much about their most recent album, Romance is Boring, mostly because it leaked right around New Year's, and I was busy putting together my year-end list. The first two singles found their way onto my 100 Songs for 2009, and those were probably the two best songs on the album. "We've Got Your Back," linked here, is still a great tune, though. Does the "Thought ... you ... should ... know" breakdown sound like the Pixies to anyone else?
Download: Los Campesinos! - We've Got Your Back
Buy Romance is Boring