The Phoenix Network:
About  |  Advertise
Adult  |  Moonsigns  |  Band Guide  |  Blogs  |  In Pictures
CD Reviews  |  Classical  |  Live Reviews  |  Music Features

Lift and drag

Titus Andronicus and Los Campesinos!, Paradise Rock Club, February 13, 2009
By RYAN STEWART  |  February 18, 2009

BEAUTIFUL AND DOOMED: But at the Paradise, Los Campesinos! were also a bit long-winded.

In an age of polarizing bands, Welsh septet Los Campesinos! are among the . . . polarizing-est. Some people find their energetic pop to be fun and infectious. Others find their naked displays of emotions grating and annoying.

I didn't really have much of an opinion — though I'm not crazy about the name or the way they've all adopted it as their stage names à la the Ramones. I was much more interested in seeing Titus Andronicus, a phenomenal band from New Jersey who play a hyper-intellectual version of the lo-fi punk that's been so popular these past few years. And they absolutely delivered, with a set that captured the raw intensity of their debut, The Airing of Grievances. Alongside songs whose titles sound as if they had been culled from the notebook of a first-year liberal-arts generalist ("Joset of Nazareth's Blues," "Fear and Loathing in Mahwah, NJ"), they offered suitably raucous takes on Bruce Springsteen's "Badlands" and the Modern Lovers' "Roadrunner" — the latter of which they anointed as the best song ever to come out of Boston.

For the first half or so of LC!'s set, the appeal was apparent. As they ripped through one catchy, two-minute ditty after another (from their 2008 releases, Hold On Now, Youngster and We Are Beautiful, We Are Doomed) while bouncing around the stage, it seemed there really wasn't much difference between these guys and most indie-punk bands, other than maybe the use of glockenspiel. Most of the more embarrassingly drippy lyrics were tough to understand because of lead singer Gareth Campesinos's thick Welsh accent, though that didn't stop the (mostly younger-looking) crowd from pointing fingers along with both him and co-vocalist/keyboardist (sigh) Aleksandra Campesinos. I'm not sure how a line like "Sarah Records never meant anything to me" became an anthemic rallying point, but whatever works, I guess.

Gareth pointed out at one point that the show had broken their "record for most amount of songs." Whether or not that count was accurate, it certainly seemed they were playing for a long time —and after a while it started to drag. Every song sprang from the same pattern of screaming and spoken-word, and Gareth's emoting slid from intriguing sincerity to hissy fit over the course of the evening. By the time he and Aleksandra climbed up on their monitors to sing "We Are Beautiful, We Are Doomed," it all felt like a bit much. Toward the end, a lone voice of dissent rose from the crowd, in what might have been the most sincere expression of the night: "Play the Smiths!"

Related: Los Campesinos!, Slideshow: World-Inferno Friendship Society at Paradise, Slideshow: Of Montreal at the Paradise, More more >
  Topics: Live Reviews , Paradise Rock Club, Paradise Rock Club, The Ramones,  More more >
  • Share:
  • Share this entry with Facebook
  • Share this entry with Digg
  • Share this entry with Delicious
  • RSS feed
  • Email this article to a friend
  • Print this article

Best Music Poll 2009 winners
Today's Event Picks
--> -->
Share this entry with Delicious
  •   GOING STEADY  |  August 05, 2009
    Whenever Drug Rug come up in the press (which is happening more and more lately), writers seem to find it hard to separate the band from the relationship between founding members Sarah Cronin and Tommy Allen. Cronin and Allen are not crazy about this.
  •   MAGNOLIA ELECTRIC CO. | JOSEPHINE  |  July 22, 2009
    Even though it arose in part from tragedy, Josephine , the latest from Jason Molina and his band Magnolia Electric Co., may be one of Molina's lightest releases.
  •   REVIEW: GUITAR HERO: SMASH HITS  |  July 13, 2009
    When evaluating a new Guitar Hero — or any music-related game — it helps to picture a Venh Diagram consisting of three circles: "Good Songs," "Challenging Songs," and "Songs that are fun to play on plastic instruments."
  •   JAPANDROIDS | POST-NOTHING  |  July 07, 2009
    I was tempted to write off Japandroids as just one more lo-fi punk band who've overdosed on fuzz.
  •   BOWERBIRDS | UPPER AIR  |  July 06, 2009
    North Carolina's Bowerbirds take the prevailing indie-rock æsthetic — ornate, textured arrangements, clean vocal harmonies — and apply them to Southern gothic, Appalachian bluegrass, and folk.

 See all articles by: RYAN STEWART

RSS Feed of for the most popular articles
 Most Viewed   Most Emailed 

  |  Sign In  |  Register
Phoenix Media/Communications Group:
Copyright © 2009 The Phoenix Media/Communications Group