Los Campesinos! – The Cockpit, Leeds – 11th November

Strange News From Another Star may not be the band you’d expect to play just before Los Campesinos! but somehow it worked. They were ridiculously heavier than the usual generic indie pop I listen to and yet I still managed to enjoy them, even if at one point I did suggest that perhaps stand up comedy might be a better arena for them. Singing songs about Stacey Solomon of X Factor fame, Iceland nothingness (their words, not mine) and burning down Tesco, the band did their job of getting the crowd well and truly into the spirit for Los Campesinos’ set. Introducing their most recent single as a song that got to number 2 in the Cardiff charts and almost dragging a punter onto the stage to play bass on their final song of the set (and pushing his limits), Strange News… were easily one of the more enjoyable support bands I’ve seen in a while.

Opening with the fantastic ‘By Your Hand’, Los Campesinos! really set about reminding the Leeds crowd why they loved them so much. And that they did. With the crowd hollering back every word to every song, you would not believe that most of these kids have had the album for barely a week (if you pre-ordered.) I may have slight bias, since my love for this band has led me to stand outside crap venues in Bradford begging people to sign up to their mailing list and travelling nearly 8 hours either way just to see them, but they are one of the most thrilling live prospects around.

Newies like ‘Songs About Your Girlfriend’ and ‘The Black Bird’, ‘The Dark Slope’ slotted perfectly alongside old favourites ‘Miserabilia’ and ‘Death To Los Campesinos!’ as well as documenting just how far this band have come from those early days. There was the obvious excitement to hear that song off that beer advert AKA. ‘You! Me! Dancing!’ but thankfully the crowd wasn’t just people who wanted to see that track. It did throw up some delightful dance moves from the Leeds punters though, including a pair in front of us who properly went for it, and of course my little group with out patented dance routine that has been carefully shaped through hours of hearing the track at work.

Highlights of the set included my own personal favourite ‘We Are Beautiful We Are Doomed’ followed by a spectacular version of ‘Straight In At 101′, and in the closing stages of the show, the enthusiasm of the crowd singing along with the brilliant ‘Hello Sadness’ and its easily sing-able refrain of “Its only hope that springs eternal, and that’s the reason why it’s dripping from my broken heart, it’s never running dry” and the obvious “Goodbye courage, hello sadness again.” To be honest, I had high expectations, and brilliantly I wasn’t let down (even if at times I had to stop myself from shouting at the couple in front of me, who, if not joined by the lips, were sounding off like foghorns). However, the ultimate moment of the night was the emotionally charged rendition of ‘The Sea Is A Good Place To Think Of The Future.’ It was quite a moment to hear the full to capacity crowd of the Cockpit singing “But you could never kiss a Tory boy without wanting to cut off your tongue again”, displaying as ever that Gareth is a fantastic frontman, not afraid to wear his heart on his sleeve to get an incredible moment. Returning onto the stage to play ‘Documented Minor Emotional Breakdown #1′ and ‘Sweet Dreams Sweet Cheeks’, team Campesinos! really did end the night (and the tour) on a high reassuring not only me but the entire crowd that the band really are a formidable live force, and that Hello Sadness is the start of something brilliant.


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