“Don’t put this in your blogs,” says Gareth with a resigned smile. The Wales-based six-piece have just finished playing As Lucerne / The Low, the track with the lyrics that provide the title of the band’s fifth studio album NO BLUES, released back in October. The power supply to one side of the stage has just failed rendering half of them useless, and the frontman is filling the dead air with a little light chat as the venue’s technicians try and get everything sorted out. Within a couple of minutes everything is back to normal, and it’s on with the show.
This was actually the fourth time I had had the pleasure of seeing Los Campesinos! live, but as it was the first non-festival performance I’d seen I was understandably excited for a gig in a more intimate setting, not least because the aforementioned new album is a masterpiece of the genre and I was very much looking forward to hearing some of the new songs played live. As the band launch into By Your Hand, taken from 2011’s Hello Sadness, I am already satisfied that the anticipation that had been steadily building in the weeks leading up to this would not have been in vain.
The band clearly benefit from the longer stage time that a devoted tour brings, and this is reflected in a setlist that spans all five of their records, seguing effortlessly from album to album, sound to sound. NO BLUES is, of course, healthily represented – 7 of its 10 songs are belted out before the night is over – alongside the classics (including one-time Budweiser advert soundtrack and fan favourite You! Me! Dancing!) in a set lasting around one hour and twenty minutes. Each and every track sounds absolutely on-point; LC! are one of those bands who are so gifted at reproducing their studio sound on stage and this is no different here.
The atmosphere in Gorilla is also a contributing factor to the overall impressiveness of the show. Fans of all ages, clearly passionate about the band onstage in front of them, respond to everything Gareth says with rapturous applause and cheering (save for a smattering of boos as he re-emerges on stage wearing a United shirt), and as encore closer Baby I Got The Death Rattle comes to an end, the masses pour out into a chilly Mancunian night with smiles on their faces.
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