Concert Review: Los Campesinos!

BY IAN HRABE

Upon entering the Record Bar last night and discovering that Smith Westerns had been

added to the already airtight Los Campesinos!/Girls bill, not knowing how to

articulately express my enthusiasm, I just started saying “oh fuck yes” over and over again. I

knew the show was already going to be excellent, but with the Smith Westerns on the bill, it went from being the show of the summer to quite possibly the

show of the year. This constituted a perfect storm: three bands with

varying styles, all capable of headlining, all on the same bill. After each set, I

was ready to go home and had to remind myself that another excellent band was up

next.

So, the Smith Westerns. I only freaked out because I gave their

debut LP (out on Hozac records) a listen a week ago and thought it was

fantastic. This young (literally, the dudes look like they’re about 19 years

old) Chicago band is the latest in a long line of neo-garage rockers, and though

all of these groups tend to blend together, the SWs’ biggest asset is that their

songs are catchy as hell. That, and instead of being influenced by what’s going

on around them, they seem more indebted to the Nerves (which clicked only after

hearing the “give me some time” refrain in one of their tunes) moreso than to Jay Reatard.

Ok, that’s a lie. They sound a lot like Jay Reatard, but structurally, there’s

something classic about their ramshackle pop songs. However, they might be the

only band right now with youthful exuberance whose members are actually young.

Categories: Music