Los Campesinos! on tour Oct '07: Gareth's diary
Los Campesinos! are a band. A band that formed in Cardiff. A band that formed to take their music out to the people. And the people, they came out to see Los Campesinos!, and how they danced. And partied. And threw knives.
The septet has been making mainstream progress all year with a series of much-admired singles showcasing their pretty-ruddy-mint jangle-pop shenanigans. Signed to Wichita in the UK, and Arts & Crafts across the pond, their debut album is due out next year.
One-of-seven Gareth Campesinos! (vocals, keyboard, glockenspiel) took the time to put pen to paper – or, rather, finger to keys – while on a recent UK tour. Here, we present his summary of a trip from Lancaster to Exeter, via a few grimy venues, bowling alleys and Tesco Metros.
October 6, 2007: Lancaster
In a Library. A 14-year-old kid in a Horrors t-shirt attempts a stage invasion. It’s a beautiful thing. The venue has the second smallest stage we've ever played on. I eat the worst pub meal I've ever tasted.
October 7: Northampton
Not the most happening of places on a Sunday night, but the audience is really attentive and say nice things to us afterwards. I have taken on the roll of 'Merch Guy' for this tour in an attempt to be in charge of something. I need to buck my ideas up as the night's takings and stock take reveal I can't count properly. Eeesh.
Me and our tour manager, Todge, buy Nintendo DS's. Best decision of my life. Passport photos for visas. Okay, now I can see just how stupid my hair is. We go ten-pin bowling, sound-tracked by a mixture of ‘90s dance hits (awesome) and contemporary 'indie' (dour).
October 9: Oxford
We play the brand spanking new Carling Academy. Turin Brakes are playing downstairs. £3.05 for a pint of sodding Carling. CARLING! I kind of feel like we're a 'proper' band at this gig. People seem to care. My heart swells.
October 10: Bristol
Gig boat! Homecoming for me, Ollie and Ellen. Families are in attendance (as well as half of Cardiff). Drunk girls harass me to sign up to the Los Campesinos! mailing list to get a free badge. I didn't even know we had badges.
October 11: Wrexham
When the lights are on this looks like the worst venue in the world; when they're off, it's pleasant. I suffer my second ever on-stage asthma attack. There’s a club night afterwards, attended by... nobody. But this means I can force the DJ to play half the newest M.I.A. record.
October 12: Liverpool
Seriously, glow sticks, _no_. We get to play with* Johnny Foreigner, and they give me Meneguar* badges. Vegan cheese is horrible. What is it with bands and their inability to not draw cocks on dressing room walls?
October 13: Manchester
Hottest gig ever. Neil plays topless. Comic shops and Piccadilly Records are within 30 seconds’ walk of Night & Day, tonight’s venue. Somebody tells me afterwards that their favourite Sleater-Kinney album is The Woods. I mean, seriously? Pervy student interviewers be gone!
I get my own hotel room! Hurrah! I spend £12 on junk food from Tesco Metro and watch the EastEnders omnibus and stay up late talking to idiots on the internet. Best day off of my life, maybe.
October 15: Glasgow
Hey man, did you know this is where Oasis were discovered? Whatever. Afterwards we get to hang out and party with You Say Party! We Say Die!, Sky Larkin, Broken Social Scene and Paul from My Latest Novel (he is the nicest man in the world, and he has the same shirt as Neil). I get lost, alone in Glasgow city centre at 3am, and have to phone for help.
October 16: Edinburgh (Review here)
I Fly Spitfires = great. Edinburgh = pretty. Vegetarian Scottish breakfast = yummy.
October 17: Newcastle
JOHNNY X IS AT OUR GIG!! People seem to have been mistaking my riot grrrl hair for emo, so I get Katie Harkin (Sky Larkin) to cut it for me. I watch children getting drunk and stoned under a bridge before coming into the gig. A guy with awful hair (even worse than mine was) and silver chain tries to steal our Melody Horn. Our first ever stage invasion happens, met with a mixture of half excitement and half_ "Oh my god, if anything gets broken we can't afford to replace it"_. No wonder Pete Doherty's in such a state. Russia 2 - England 1. We get to DJ afterwards. No, we don't have any bloody Fratellis.
October 19: Leeds
Sky Larkin's last gig on the tour and their hometown show. Massive, lovely crowd. Tony Yeboah.
October 20: Nottingham
Dance Nottingham, DANCE! Or don't, but you're very polite, and that's the main thing. Afterwards we get to hang around and Aleks and I watch *The Blow *at some god-awful club night and get to go all fanboy/girl on Khaela. Every haircut in Nottingham comes to this club night afterwards, and most of them are horrid people. Jason Lee.
October 21: Birmingham
Our first garage gig. Johnny Foreigner and* 4 or 5 Magicians *come to hang out. Guy in Black Flag t-shirt in front row >>>> Guy in Hard-Fi t-shirt in front row. More stage invading. Glockenspiel gets knocked over. B KEY BREAKS!! OMG. Ricky Otto.
October 22: Brighton
Play with broken B key. "Nobody has ever left this dressing room in such a state," pffft. Our single is out today (review). Shame we have no copies to sell. Bobby Zamora.
October 23: London
I don't think I like playing London. An awful boy from the home counties comes onstage to ruin the gig for me. I was in a mood anyway. Have to buy shitty replacement glockenspiel to play just 'B' notes. I am the Rick Wakeman of glock. Travelodge doesn't get me bedding until THREE AYY EMM! Ridiculous.
Me and Neil order room service, for the first time ever. My mum makes better sandwiches. Watch Sky Sports News all evening.
October 25: Colchester
There is a time and a place for a circle pit, and this is a CHURCH! And maybe my favourite gig of the tour so far. Every gig should be all ages, or at least 14+.
October 26: Norwich
*Bearsuit *come to watch us play! I get a new glock! Vege curry! All is well with the world. Except I think we're staying two minutes around the corner and it turns out we're staying in King’s Lynn, so I have to hold my bladder for 30 minutes and nearly die. Darren Eadie.
October 27: Sheffield
Sheffield has my favourite vegetarian restaurant in the world. Twelve hours between soundcheck and stage time. It's nice to meet friendly bands. Regi Blinker.
Me and Neil eat two dinners and then watch_ Match Of The Day 2_.
October 29: Cambridge
Another venue falls into the evil Barfly clutches. There is a pillar in the middle of the stage, and it has live electricity running through it. This + single coil guitar = ngngngngngngngngng. Nice street teamers are the best street teamers. Ellen gets chatted up by drunkenidiotwhoshouldbeoldenoughtoknowbetter number 43. Dion Dublin.
October 30: Southampton
The Joiners is the best place in the world. (I’d contest that – Southampton-spawned Ed.) In future all gigs should have the first two rows full of 15-year-old girls. And maybe they should all be held too. The air conditioning states the gig reaches 34 degrees. You Say Party! + Los Campesinos! + Ellen's hair extensions = fun times. Devon makes himself look like Chad Nickelback. Francis Benali.
October 31: Exeter
Hallowe'en. We all cross-dress. Neil looks the best: a mix between Whigfield and the guy from Babylon Zoo. Aleks looks like... Tom. Break down about 30 miles outside Bristol at 4am. Me and Ellen get taxis home to our Somerset abodes. The rest don't get home until 7am. I think this was an appropriate way to end the tour.
Los Campesinos!’s ‘The International Tweexcore Underground’ is out now on Wichita; for more information and tour dates click to their MySpace page, here.