Tag Archives: Gareth

Los Campesinos! – Los Angeles, CA: The Echoplex 2-11-12

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Band: Los Campesinos!

Venue: The Echoplex

Location: Los Angeles, CA

Tickets: $16

Date: 2-11-2012

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.

Ashley, one of my best friends, and myself at the Los Campesinos! concert.

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.

My shirt signed by many talented folks. There are 6 new signatures added...can you spot them?

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.

Gareth, Ellen and Kim from Los Campesinos! Also, some random kid's head.

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.

Robert Campesinos!

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.

Neil Campesinos!, myself and Robert Campesinos!

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.

“By Your Hand”

“Romance Is Boring”

“Death To Los Campesinos!”

“Life Is A Long Time”

“Letters From Me To Charlotte”

“Songs About Your Girlfriend”

“There Are Listed Buildings”

“We Are Beautiful, We Are Doomed”

“Straight In At 101″

“To Tundra”

“You! Me! Dancing!”

“The Sea Is A Good Place To Think Of The Future”

“Hello Sadness”

“Baby I Got The Death Rattle”

Encore:

“Miserabilia”

“Sweet Dreams, Sweet Cheeks”

And now it is officially time for the grade:

Concert: A+

Venue: A+

Drink Prices: A+

Audience: A*

Overall: 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.

Etiquette of the Pit

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Author’s Note: “The Pit” refers to the area immediately in front of the stage at a concert. It does not, children, refer to any body parts, caverns or any other distasteful dark thing (at least, in this context…).

I don’t want to say that people in the pit are rude. But just because I don’t want to say it doesn’t mean I won’t.

People in the pit are rude.

Pit at A Very Ludo Christmas...you can't see it, but everyone's eyes glow red.

The pit is a peculiar mix of anarchy and socialism. If you’ve never been in the pit, you won’t understand. But I’ll try to explain.

Once you enter the pit, you are at war. The only boundary that exists is the barrier guarded by a surly security detail preventing you from reaching the stage.

Everything else is fair game. That includes your personal bubble. And, rest assured, your boundaries will be tested. But don’t worry. I’m going to give you some rules to follow, enabling you to violate other bubbles. It’s the only way you’ll survive.

1. Don’t be a jerk. Don’t be that person who elbows their way to the front. Be the person who slinks and shimmies their way to the front. Sure, your goal is to displace everyone in front of you. But you can do it nicely. That’ll be the difference between you being a banana slug in your next life and a penguin (EVERYONE SHOULD WANT TO BE A PENGUIN).

2. Don’t be that guy. Don’t be the person heckling the band, laughing at the people singing along to every song, and trying to mosh with the people surrounding you. And don’t be the person yelling “Freebird.” It’s not cute, the band’s laughing AT you, and the people around you are there for the band. That means you should shut up (unless you’re singing along…then you’re obligated to sing as loud as you can) and enjoy it.

3. Be sweet. If someone bumps into you and apologizes, don’t get angry. Say that it’s no big, and smile. If the band asks you to sit down (this has happened to me more times than I can count [4]), help the people around you to stand again. It’s the nice thing to do. Also, no groping. Ever. I’ve never had this problem, but the potential exists. Remember: sweet doesn’t mean harassment.

4. Don’t be hatin’. Remember the first time you listened to your favorite band? Or the first time you saw a band in concert, really loved them and began listening to them earnestly? The point I’m making is this: not everyone is as in love with the band as you are. They won’t know the words, or the band, or the audience. Be patient with them. It’s not cool to dismiss them just because they’re a new fan or a potential fan. We were all there once. Be encouraging, freak out with them about how awesome the band is, and tell them random tidbits about the music that will make them fall harder in love (example: Gareth from Los Campesinos! has built the world’s first working time machine and speaks ten languages…What? I didn’t say they had to be true tidbits).

5. When all’s said and done, there are no rules for the pit. Nothing set in stone anyway. The only thing you can do is follow my guidelines and pray that everyone else does too. Of course, the guidelines are to be tossed out when someone else violates them at your expense.

It’s not a perfect system, but war rarely is.

The most important thing about the pit is that you should hide if it’s a metal or horrorcore show. Seriously, it can get terrifying. THERE WILL BE BLOOD (while that statement is literally true, is it still relevant as a pop culture reference? Anyone?).

Now, as a way to say good night, I have a few announcements.

1. I’ll be on Drury’s radio, KDRU tomorrow from 12:30-1:30. And for those of you not in Springfield, MO, the radio streams online at this website. Give me a listen, call in to make requests and/or comment about how atrocious you think I am. It’s all up to you, bear cubs.

2. Remember when I said how I was going to that Los Campesinos! concert? Guess what just came in the mail?

Los Campesinos! tickets!

And, with that, I bid you a good night. Make sure you brush your teeth.

A Night With Los Campesinos!

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Oh, darlings.  I have such news for you all.  I’m honestly not sure I can get through this post without exploding into a ball of excited energy, bouncing off the walls and singing the following:

“I’m not sure if it’s love anymore, but I’ve been thinking of you fondly for sure.  Remember what your heart is for.” (“By Your Hand” by Los Campesinos!)

First, a little background about yours truly.  As some of you may know, I’m a senior at Drury University and I am a member of the speech and debate team.  For the first tournament of the Spring semester, we’re flying to L.A.  Yeah.  In the middle of Missouri’s winter (inexplicably absent of winter-like weather), I’ll be in L.A.  I’ll try to feel bad about that later.

Our adviser told us that we would have Saturday night off.  Darn.  A Saturday night off in L.A.

But wait.  There’s more!

By now, you all should know that I have very clear preferences about what bands I’ll listen to on repeat.  One such band is Los Campesinos!

They are currently touring in the US, and I was devastated that they weren’t hitting up Missouri.  I mean, they have a song entitled “A Heat Rash in the Shape of the Show-Me State,” how could they NOT come to Missouri?

So, I was in a state of depression, broken only by listening to their music, Tweeting Gareth, Ellen, Robert and Tom (I have sadly neglected Neil, Kim and Jason) and working out how many times I could write Allyson Campesinos! on my notebook in class (1,543 times…but I digress.).

Because I’m clearly a masochist, I decided to look at the items for sale on the Los Campesinos! website.  Before I could get to converting pounds to dollars, I saw their tour dates.  Mind you, I was just looking to see where they were, how long it would take me to get there, and how many years it would take me to replace the money in my savings account if I embarked on that road trip.

Then I saw it.

Los Campesinos! Tour Dates

On February 11, the night that I am free to do as I please in Los Angeles, Los Campesinos! will be playing.

This is not fortuitous.  This is not coincidence.  This is fate.  This is divine intervention.

THIS WAS PREORDAINED.  

This is wonderful and exciting and unbelievably perfect.  I wasn’t sure if I would ever get the chance to see Los Campesinos! live.  I mean, they’re inconsiderate enough to live in the UK and I didn’t know if they would plan their next tour with my schedule in mind (again, inconsiderate).

But, it’s happening.  I’ll be seeing them in a little over a week.

So.  What are YOU doing next Saturday?