Los Campesinos! at the Great American Music Hall for Noise Pop 2017, by Jon Ching
Los Campesinos! (photo: Jon Ching)

In 2007, I did a project for my 10th grade English class in which I wrote a mini auto-biography with each chapter titled after a song. The one about school and my hatred for math was titled after Los Campesinos!‘ “Don’t Tell Me To Do The Math(s).” In 2016, a friend and I did a cover of Los Campesinos!’ “My Year In Lists” for a college friend’s senior show at CCA. In 2017, I finally got to see a band that has so much sentimental value to my life. This was the big Noise Pop show for me. This was years in the making. February 24, I saw my first twee obsession live.

As I waited outside for a friend of mine to show up, I talked to someone trying to get a ticket who flew out from Salt Lake City just for Los Campesinos! He told me he had seen them every time they came to the states, and that they were his favorite band. We ranted together about their career and music. I wished him luck as I walked into the Great American with my friend.

We sat in the balcony, in the fairly uncomfortable disabled seats. I tried to find a way to way to comfortably sit without putting excess pressure on my messed-up knee. Eventually, it didn’t matter, because all that I wanted to focus on was the music.

The Y Axes, a band that would have certainly been huge if it was 2005, made the crowd fall in love with them. The lead singer, Alexi Rose Belchere, has such a energetic and passionate stage presence, hopping around and getting the whole crowd to sing along with her.

While No Vacation was on, I came down from the balcony to have a moment in the crowd, where many people around me were debating if the synth player’s hair was actually pink or if it was a wig (Later in the night, I found her at an after party and discovered it was a wig). No Vacation is a band many have been excited about because of their lo-fi bedroom dream-pop that feels like a cure for lonely nights. It was my first time actually seeing them live, and they were everything and more. I am so excited to see where their career goes, and I hope Sab Ma flies out from NYC to play with the rest of No Vacation (that are in the Bay) all the time.

OK, I cried during Crying, even though they’re not really music for crying. They’re not emo. They’re similar to Los Campesinos! — a sort of tweexcore experiment, linked to nostalgia and self-care. I wasn’t crying to Crying because I was sad, but because I felt honored to see them take that stage. I have seen Crying and a couple of the lead singers, Elaiza’s, other projects through out the past two years. Mostly in small venues and DIY locations. When I saw they were touring with Los Campesinos! I freaked out! To actually be there, I was just so excited. I love Crying the band and the act.

For Los Campesinos! I decided to go back to the balcony, because I knew I had to see them from away from the crowd or my dancing urges would take over, and I would re-sprain my knee. I screamed when they came out, I was 15 again. I forgot how much I loved them — when I was in high school, I thought I was the only one that knew about them (I was an emo/indie music snob). I had no clue there was so many others just as in love with them as I.

That day was not only the first time I ever was able to see them, but their first show in the Bay Area in over 5 years and the release date of their new album Sick Scenes. They were better than I could have ever expected, louder, and kinder. I was little shocked to see people moshing to it, but at the same time, I was jealous I couldn’t join them in that moment and dance and sing along. Eventually Gareth, the lead singer of the band, told the crowd to chill out, to not push each other, to take of each other, and bring “girls to the front.” I also got really excited by their kindness. The part the killed me, that destroyed the professional persona I have created while working in music, was when they sang “My Year In Lists.” That persona fell apart, and I was screaming along to that song from the balcony, almost shaking with joy. That’s how the rest of the show felt, as they sang old songs, a few new ones, but focused on the hits — they even played “You! Me! Dancing!” during the encore. Honestly, this was the show that I would have never expected to see. I am so happy and fulfilled to have been there.