Gareth David and Jason Adelina trade cymbal crashes and drum sticks (with a solid 90% success rate) over a kit with ‘LC! 4 LYF’ adorned to the front. As Los Campesinos! tumble into ‘You! Me! Dancing!’, the crowd explodes in a throng of outstretched arms and big voices. Nine years in and the message holds as true as ever.
As Bruising take to the stage to open proceedings, a majority of the crowd are still queuing to get in. Undeterred the band start promisingly with their surf meets slacker pop and begin to build up pace. A tease of Hole’s ‘Celebrity Skin’ sees the band slip comfortably into a groove.
By the time the shotgun finale of ‘Honey’ and ‘Emo Friends’ comes around, the Scala is almost at capacity and all eyes are on Bruising. “”Go tell your friends,” the band offer. With a set as glorious as this, you can bet the audience won’t need telling twice.
Swapping the beaming smiles of Bruising for a more insular melancholy, Oscar’s rich vocals flood the room and demand attention. He too takes a few songs to warm up but by the swaying pendulum of ‘Breaking My Phone’, he’s firing on all cylinders.
Madonna’s ‘Like A Prayer’ soundtracks the entrance of Los Campesinos! From the opening swing of ‘For Flotsam’, the Cardiff rabble demand a reaction. It only gets louder and grander as Los Camp! fire out hit after hit. With no album to promote, the band are free to dart across their five album back catalogue and they don’t put a foot wrong. From the swirling demand of ‘By Your Hand’ through the twinkling dance of ‘Cemetery Gaits’ until the ragged charm of ‘Sweet Dreams, Sweet Cheeks’, Los Campesinos! take the solitary heartbreak that their records inhabit and replace it with a carnival.
They’re aware of the mortality of both themselves (“This song’s about how each and everyone of us is going to die alone” – ‘Miserabilia’) and their career (“This is from that record that you all pretend you still like because it gives you a sense of vitality” – ‘Hold On Now, Youngster’) but the drum kit doesn’t lie. Los Campesinos! for life.