Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Los Campesinos! & Sky Larkin @ The Spitz, 5 March 2007

So, two of the most tipped new bands of the year so far, on tour together. At least judging by the end of year poll on Nothing But Green Lights, which had its top two as Los Campesinos! (2) and Sky Larkin (1). Both of them wound up their recent short UK tour at a long sold out gig at The Spitz on Monday night.

By virtue of being the higher profile of the two bands – now with a record deal on Witchita – The Cardiff outfit are the headline act. But I reckon most people are out tonight to see both.

I really quite liked Sky Larkin, the Leeds band made up of Katie (vocals, shiny skirt, cute guitar poses), Douglas Adams (bass, big curly hair, not being a million-selling author), and Nestor (drums, wild thrashing, even wilder facial expressions). I’m not going to give you a detailed breakdown of their sound and influences. They’re basically a trio playing decent indie rock with good tunes. Nothing particularly groundbreaking, but they do it very well. I guess if you really want a comparison, think a slightly less poppy Long Blondes, without the self-conscious coolness. But that’s not really important. They’re a small and perfectly formed band. The first mutual appreciation of the evening came when Katie invited the ‘Los Campesinos! male voice choir’ onstage to sing Somersault.

Download: Sky Larkin – One of Two

Los Campesinos!, their slightly more illustrious friends , bring their seven-member line-up to the stage for a set of full-on indie pop songs that will be familiar to anyone who’s benefited from their policy of giving away loads of free mp3s of songs from their myspace, and website. Although most people there were probably seeing them for the first time, they do seem to have some superfans who threw themselves around with wild abandon to every note played.

But it’s understandable really. They’re a lot of fun, and their spark and energy over-rides their sometime lack of tightness. Each song seems to begin and end with a clatter of instruments, and continues through the cheery keyboard riffs, mad plonking on xylophones, singer Gareth’s shouting, posing and posturing, and smiles all round from the rest of the group. Their mutual appreciation is even greater – not only Sky Larkin, but also third support act Nosferatu D2 are called onstage for an awesome rendition of You ! Me! Dancing! Which has to be their best tune so far, and really should have been the finale, because they were never going to top that.

Although their supercharged indie pop (they have, by their own admission, only one ‘ballad’) is hugely appealing, I think on the night they were probably edged by their less numerous friends. Still, two fine new bands on a dismal March evening in East London isn’t a bad deal.

Download: Los Campesinos! – We Throw Parties, You Throw Knives
Download: Los Campesinos! – Please Don’t Tell Me to do the Math(s)

Things are obviously looking up for these kids. Los Campesinos! next London gig is at the much bigger Scala (on 5 June). You’ll have to wait till around then to see them play anywhere though, because neither Los Camps or Sky Larkin are doing much in the way of live music until they’ve sat their exams. They are students after all.

See more of my gig photos at my Flickr photostream.

More mp3s from Los Campesinos! still available on my previous post.


Eddie said...

Fantastic review of a fantastic night. Did you hear Gareth ask if there were any music bloggers there? I'd already spoken to him earlier and self-consciously raised my hand. I looked around to see if you (or any others) were there, but I seemed to be the only one with my hand up. Think I was round the opposite side from you based on the pictures though.

Any times I could swipe a couple of them from your Flickr for when I write it up? All of my shots came out horribly. Full credit and link of course..

The Daily Growl said...

I felt a bit self-conscious when he asked that, so I kept my hands down but my friends were about to 'out' me!

Feel free to swipe away...