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
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.