Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Let's Have Some Milk and Cookies

There's a mountainous backlog of entries in my noggin waiting to be transcribed, but this one will have to jump the queue. Just saw Los Campesinos! (their exclamation, not mine) at Bowery Ballroom.

I was supposed to see them back in November, but I screwed up and double booked an opera at the Met. Should've skipped out on the opera. (A real clunker. I had to fight hard to stay awake at that one. Can't even remember what it was now. Helen? Helene? Helena? Whatever.) [The lapse in memory really bugged me, so I poked around and figured out that it was Bellini's Norma. Norma/Helena ... close enough. Either is a fittingly bland name for the production.] {My apologies if your name is Norma or Helena. If it makes you feel any better, I'll concede that Steven would make an equally bland name for an opera.}

Such a rambunctious bunch. They're like overgrown, hyperactive first graders (all seven of them -- lead vocalist, two guitarists, keyboardist, bassist, violinist and drummer-ist) who decided to form a band during recess. Lots of shouting, lots of jumping, lots of carefree happiness. And that happiness is infectious. It's hard to watch and listen without feeling a childlike glee yourself.

But beneath the fun lies an intelligent grasp of rhythm and harmony. Each song is a tightly wound bundle of goodness with not a note (or bleep, click or clap) out of place. It's a wonder the seven of them are able to keep so many moving parts in sync -- especially live.

And all of it is stitched together with one witty expression after another. I typically don't pay much attention to lyrics, but even I couldn't miss a line as clever as: "I cherish with fondness the day before I met you." (From "My Year in Lists.") In the hands of lesser minds, that line would've been a lifeless: "I wish I'd never met you."

I see great things in their future. Hopefully, more people catch on. They deserve an audience.


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