by Jonathan Hamilton
I remember when I was barely a teenager I thought that a mosh pit happened at every concert and that proper concert etiquette required anyone at the front of the stage to participate in said pit. Eventually, I went to enough shows to learn that moshing is only appropriate for certain types of music and certain types of crowds. The all ages crowd at the Neptune for last weekend’s Los Campesinos! show never learned these valuable mosh pit lessons, and it led to one high energy and hilarious good time. When the first notes of single “By Your Hand” opened the set, the front half of the crowd in front of the stage immediately turned into a circle pit for the entirety of the show. It didn’t matter how fast, slow, loud or soft Los Campesinos! played, the moshing continued.
After lead singer Gareth had watched a few people get kicked by crowd surfers, he chimed in, “If you are going to crowd surf take off your shoes,” adding that it’s the polite thing to do. Despite this tip none of the future crowd surfers went shoeless. During “Hello Sadness,” the title track to their latest album, a young crowd surfer made it to the front of the stage just in front of Gareth who was standing with both hands on the mic stand. The young man pumped his fist and dove into the crowd as Gareth winced and slowly shook his head in disbelief. Those of us on the floor just beyond the back of the mosh pit laughed.
Los Campesinos! has cultivated a devoted following with a digital spin on a decidedly old school DIY approach to keeping in touch with their audience. In the last year, the band self-released two zines that each came with an exclusive 7” single. Add this to their constant blogging and Twitter updates and you have a UK band who connects with their audience on an almost intimate level, which leads to crowds who feel like they are part of the show. It also means that seemingly everyone in attendance knows the words to every song. It is that mutual personal investment that led to so many of the people on the floor losing it and needing to mosh to appropriately get out their excitement. And that’s why the rest of us on the floor moved back to allow for that space to happen. Instead of getting angry, we stood just outside the reach of the pit laughing and screaming along with every song.
Later in the night, the band announced that the evening’s show was being recorded for a possible live album. The crowd erupted which led to a great high energy version of their biggest commercial hit “You! Me! Dancing!” Sadly, the band would later find out that their sound equipment malfunctioned and there will not be a permanent record of this crazed Seattle concert at The Neptune -- which I suppose isn’t so bad because really they needed video of this insanity to truly get across the sheer mad joy of this concert.
I have seen Los Campesinos! live a couple of other times, and while it is always a great show with lots of dancing, it has never been this crazy before. You should definitely see them live in the future given the chance, but you shouldn’t expect an experience quite like their show at the Neptune last Saturday. Whenever I go to a concert, I hope for some sort of unforgettable moment from the performance that will always stick with me. I think it is safe to say that years from now I will say, “Hey, remember that Los Campesinos! show at the Neptune? That was insane!” Pro tip: When you do see Los Campesinos! be sure to hang out by the merch booth afterwards. The band generally pops out to sign things and make small talk with any concert stragglers.
In total, the band played for close to an hour and half. But hey, what can you expect from a band who includes an exclamation point at the end of their name?
Seattle’s Kithkin opened the show and they immediately had the crowd captivated. So much so that later in the night Los Campesinos! would jokingly mention that it’s disrespectful to the headliner to show the opening act that much love. Kithkin’s drummer plays standing up which is always a site to see.
They made such an impression on the crowd that the band was selling out of merch after the show. The time to see this emerging Seattle band is now so that you can have one of those, “I saw Kithkin back in the day!” stories to wow and enrage your friends.
Los Campesinos! photos by Jim Bennett:
Kithkin photos by Jim Bennett:
Los Campesinos! photos by James Bailey from the VIP Club Concert at The Neptune earlier that day:
Los Campesinos! setlist:
By Your Hand
Romance Is Boring
Death to Los Campesinos!
Life Is a Long Time
A Heat Rash In the Perfect Shape of the Show-Me State; Or, Letters From Me to Charlotte
Songs About Your Girlfriend
There Are Listed Buildings
We Are Beautiful, We Are Doomed
Straight In At 101
You! Me! Dancing!
The Sea Is a Good Place to Think of the Future
Baby I Got the Death Rattle
Ways to Make It Through the Wall
Sweet Dreams, Sweet Cheeks