The atmosphere in Esquires is sober with anticipation both before and after the reverb-and delay laden performance of Sparky Deathcap, whose raw and remorseful vocals are delivered to a crowd who clearly warm to his howls and finger-picked electric folk as the set progresses. His creative use of a sampler did seem to leave some members of the crowd a little nonplussed, however. Sparky howls and bawls his way through a set of melancholic numbers, reminiscent of Will Oldham’s incarnation as Palace Music on Arise Therefore, though you get the feeling that he feels slightly out of place on this bill.
Frenzied just isn’t a strong enough word to describe
Bassist Kelly, who tonight looks akin to a rock ‘n’ roll little red riding hood, and frenetic front-man Alexei exchange vocals like two kids warring in the playground, while drummer Junior provides near flawless fast-paced stick-work from the back.
“Sofacore” provides a climax to this startlingly energetic set as Alexei’s guitar is flayed around as freely as his fringe, Junior ups the tempo on the skins, and Kelly is Deal-esque on bass. Another typically trademark whirlwind performance from Johnny Foreigner tonight, which feels like it’s over as soon as it’s started, but one which is loaded with tonnes of substance and promise.
The minute stage leaves Los Campesinos! looking slightly like a bizarre identity parade, with guitarists Neil and Tom morphing into Siamese twins joined at the hip, and everyone else finding space wherever they can.
You wonder how well the Los Campesinos! sound will translate live, using a melodica and glockenspiel in their heavily layered compositions, but, except for some vocals being on the quiet side, the sound is pretty much bang on. The delivery of each clink and frenetically uttered lyric is as tight as the duck’s proverbial with barely a beat out of place.
No sign of an encore, but Los Campesinos!’ creative variety of indie-pop leaves me, unable to resist at the very least joyfully whistling their infectious choruses as I exit onto the streets. On the back of this performance this may be the last time they play
SPARKY DEATHCAP 7/10
JOHNNY FOREIGNER 8/10
LOS CAMPESINOS! 9/10
[Review taken from Drowned in Sound]