Band: Los Campesinos!
Venue: The Echoplex
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Everyone who knows me or has read this blog knows how much I was looking forward to this concert. I mean, the planets had to align for me to even get there. But it happened. And I have stories.
First, like I told you all weeks ago, it’s always better to go to a concert with someone you like.
Yeah. It was a good call to go with her. We navigated LA and got to the concert just as Parenthetical Girls were going on. First, I’d like to say that Parenthetical Girls were amazing. Words fail to describe how excited I am to start listening to them in earnest. Here’s a sample.
But I digress.
So, we get to the concert, and I see Robert at the merch table. My thoughts went something like this: “OH MY GAWD, THAT’S ROBERT!!!” I like to think I was a good dealer calmer when I went and asked him if he would sign my shirt.
I slapped it on the table, and Robert saw the Allyson’s Setlist scrawled across it. He recognized it. He recognized me. Excuse me while I shriek. We chitchatted, mostly because I wouldn’t let him go.
Robert, Neil, Kim, Ellen, Tom and Jason all signed it. Isn’t it great?
And guess what? Neil, Ellen and Jason all recognized me too. Granted, this probably means I’m vaguely stalkerish with them on Twitter, but I choose to think they don’t mind it.
Gareth, unfortunately, was in the back. He wasn’t feeling great, but his performance didn’t show it. So. On to the goods.
The concert was fantastic. We were close to the front, so we saw all the action.
It’s a little blurry, but I think that makes it charming. When listening to Los Campesinos!, I’m often struck by the excitement and depth I get from the songs. Their performances live do their music justice. Gareth engages with the audience through his gestures. Example:
“Though said with hand in pockets, I mean it hand on heart. You held a gun to his head, pressed your thumbs to her throat in these letters.” (“Letters From Me to Charlotte”)
Gareth actually acts it out. And it’s completely wonderful. Of course, Kim helps by holding her hand to Gareth’s head in the shape of a gun. She’s nice that way. Of course, Kim talks to the audience in a different way. She does it with her eyes and the way she’s singing. Gareth’s fairly stoic. Kim’s not. It makes for such a cool combination.
Tom makes the guitar sound like every guitar should wish it sounded, and Ellen is somewhere behind Tom and Kim, playing bass and looking like the sort of person I always hoped I’d grow up to be. Seriously, I cannot stress how cool that lady is.
We were right in front of Robert, and that was a wonderful place to be. He was so involved and man, he was playing all sorts of instruments. Seriously, I think he was constantly switching. It was impressive.
I’m giving you snippets, but what I really want to say about that concert is this: I was in a crowd of a few hundred people with sweat pouring down my face and back, I was standing for a few hours, I kept getting pushed around by the other people in the crowd, and I didn’t care. This concert was the most energetic and all-consuming I’d ever been to. After every song, Gareth would say “Thanks a lot” in a sweetly self-deprecating kind of way (which is how a lot of the lyrics he writes comes across). You’d swear he was shy if you didn’t see him on stage and watch him settle in. At one point, he came into the audience and we ate it up.
One person tried to banter with him, but Gareth shut him down by saying it was his turn with the mic. People were crowd surfing, and Gareth said that was the longest anyone had ever stayed up at one of their concerts.
Everyone was crazed and in the moment. It was what I imagine winning at life feels like.
Oh, and they’re all as nice as they look and sound. When I got Kim to sign my shirt, I called her by name. She introduced herself before realizing that I had called her by name. I told her I was a little creepy, and she responded:
“It’s not creepy for you. There was this guy the other night and I said, ‘I’m Kim.’ He said, ‘I know.’ Why would you say that? Why wouldn’t you just stay quiet?”
I held Neil’s beer for him while he signed my shirt, and he called me “Tweety Allyson.” Not that I Tweet them a lot, or anything…
They were nice, charming and well practiced in dealing with fans of my ilk. I hope I wasn’t too off putting for them.
In conclusion, they were wonderful and beautiful and I plan on seeing them whenever I get the chance. And meeting Gareth is on my list of things to do. You all should probably send your pity his way.
One more thing before I give you the score. I actually scribbled down the songs as they were being played, giving me an accurate setlist for the concert. Here it is. Enjoy.
And now it is officially time for the grade:
Drink Prices: A+
*The only reason the audience doesn’t get a perfect score is because of the random short stocky guy standing next to me. I’ve never been driven to elbow someone before, but homeboy was asking for it. He kept shoving me in an attempt to get in front of me. DON’T NOBODY COME BETWEEN ME AND THE BAND. Let that be a lesson to everyone who goes to a concert I’m at. Though I be but little, I AM FIERCE.