Los Campesinos + Parenthetical Girls at Neumo’s, Seattle | 31 May 2008
All ages shows at Neumo’s usually consist of the youngsters up on the balcony safely tucked away from the main floor and all of the action. That was not the case for the Los Campesinos show on Saturday night, it was all ages on the main floor and even though you couldn’t have a drink, the energy from where I was standing on the floor was hyper-dancing- fun. We jaded older folks take being able to see bands for granted, but the kids I was standing next to were totally excited and having a time. And for good reason, Los Campesinos are a blast to see live. You could tell it was going to be a hyper, energy-packed show when they started the evening with that alternating count off to Broken HeartBeats Sound Like Breakbeats. It was kind of startling, to hear them alternately shouting out these numbers to start the song. And we were off, all seven of the band as well aseveryone around me, bouncing around, singing along and smiling. It’s hard not to smile while watching these guys play, the music is infectious, and you can tell the band love playing it. Evidenced in Gareth the singer beating the hell out of his glockenspiel and both guitarists sharing a mic for the choruses like an 80’s metal band and a shirtless drummer!
They played nearly everything they’ve put out, even doing their version of Pavement’s Frontwords. There were lots of calls for their cover of Heavenly’s C is the Heavenly Option, but Gareth pointed out that the song needs a banjo and they didn’t have one. No matter, their originals even though they sometimes sound like they’re all the same song, were more than enough to satiate the place. You! Me! Dancing! came near the end of the set, with the first chords of the song immediately bringing cheers. They kind of threw a curve ball before starting it, with their second Pavement cover of the night, a verse of Box Elder before striking into their best song. It was surely no disappointment, the only problem was that the rest of the set kind of struggled to match the intensity and eurphoria of that song.
Openers Parenthetical Girls, who are from Portland via Everett, WA were entertaining to say the least. Front guy Zac Pennington likes to spend time off the stage and in the crowd. They started their set with Zac sauntering out into the audience with his mic and drum stick. He’s got a very theatrical flair that makes the band interesting to watch…more interesting than the music, but he and the band had my full attention for the set. There were a few songs that stood out, but their cover of OMD’s Joan of Arc was the highlight. Their distinctive take on that classic had all four of them huddled around the drum set beating on whatever they could reach with a stick. They certainly have the delivery down.
mp3: Parenthetical Girls – Joan of Arc (OMD cover)