Published Nov 12, 2018British indie-poppers Los Campesinos! touched down in Toronto last night for one of the only Canadian dates on their ten-year anniversary run in celebration of their first two albums, Hold On Now, Youngster… and We Are Beautiful, We Are Doomed.
Filling the Opera House with an all-ages cluster of earnest fans, LC! brought along New York's Adult Mom to open the night. The bedroom pop project of singer/guitarist Steph Knipe expanded into a four-piece live, performing seamlessly as a cohesive unit. Their gratitude, both for the sizeable crowd and the opportunity to perform for them, was undeniable and enveloped the venue in warmth.
"This is a song I wrote about being queer," Knipe said with a smile before diving into "Told Ya So" off of Adult Mom's debut, Momentary Lapse of Happily. Bathed in a sea of rainbow lights, there was triumph in Knipe's voice as they sang "And it is okay to feel the world / It is okay to kiss girls!"
Shortly after 9, the room dimmed as "Early Whitney" by WHY? played through the speakers. Slowly, the seven members of Los Campesinos! traipsed onstage and assumed their rightful positions to a roar of applause. "Ways to Make It Through the Wall," the first track on We Are Beautiful, We Are Doomed, made for an excellent opener and instantly ignited the audience.
Despite the tour being in honour of their earliest releases, the band churned out choice cuts that spanned their dense discography. It proved to be the right decision; the crowd's energy grew stronger as the set progressed.
"I Broke Up In Amarante," the first single from last year's Sick Scenes, elicited an impassioned call-and-response between frontman Gareth Campesinos! and fans as he plead for help in singing the song's refrain. No Blues' anthemic "For Flotsam" sounded more urgent than ever, while "Straight in at 101," a cheeky tale of failed sexual encounters from 2010's Romance Is Boring, brought out the best of the band's signature angst.
Years spent on the road and in the studio have allowed Los Campesinos! to hone their infectious brand of jubilant, frenzied noise pop. At times, the cacophony of guitars and keys got lost in the mix, but LC!'s palpable energy as an ensemble proved strong enough for them to prevail.