I'm sure I speak for a large population of this city when I say I hate queuing, I hate the rain and I hate Camden. So standing in a whopping great queue on a rainy Monday night on Camden high street isn't my idea of the perfect way to start the week. There aren't many things at the end of this queue that would make these set of circumstances worthwhile but the opportunity to see this collection of bands certainly seemed worth the discomfort endured. Sadly it wasn't as easy as that. The queue was so big that Times New Viking were all but done as I entered the venue and Los Campesinos annoyed the hell out of me. Thankfully No Age made up for all of it and the star rating you see on your left is largely made up from their performance.
To be honest the LA duo of Randy Randall and Dean Spunt were who I really came to see. Their album Nouns has been the most played for me this year and to see them recreate that DIY sound on stage was well worth the misery that Camden can inflict. And the boys certainly didn't disappoint. From the first note their sound boomed out and resounded around the room with a commanding force. For such a small outfit they can certainly make a noise and the variation of sounds that power out of their two instruments and the odd sampling device defies the sight of the two kids that stand before you. Randy's guitar can assume the roaming jangle of This Should Be My Home, the carefree strum of Ripped Knees or stoop to the deep metallic grind of Boy Void and all the time he's accompanied by the force that is Dean's non-stop drum workout. There's little movement on stage but the sound is so commanding.
Much of Nouns was given a thorough pillaging with stand out moments being Eraser, Teen Creeps, Cappo and Sleeper Hold. The choice cuts from Weirdo Rippers stood shoulder to shoulder with their newer brethren with the finale being given over to a fantastic rendition of Everybody's Down. Thinking they had played their last song much of the crowd drifted towards the bar only for a red light to descend on the stage and the slight figure of Dean Spunt atop a speaker, mic in hand. Away from his drums for the first time he launched into the contorted vocal intro. After this a flashing strobe blinded the crowd and when it lifted Dean was back at the drum kit and the crashing second half ensued with chugging guitar and cymbals firing out with total abandon.
The ease and who-gives-a-shit nature with which No Age churn out their set make a formation like Los Campesinos! appear slightly too much and though they commanded the crowd from the word go they seemed very aware of themselves in comparison. A line-up like this will undoubtedly divide the audience and many seemed to have come for the fuzz and grind of the first two bands and a whole new crowd drafted in for the last act. This crowd were all set for dancing and as the signature tune of Death To Los Campesinos! started up the adoring fans got exactly what they wanted. I, however, had come for a head pummeling and got what I wanted from No Age and the tail end of Times New Viking so the multi-instrumental 7-man line up that stood on stage now did very little for me. Putting the 'camp' into Campesinos this band of merry musicians had more than enough of a following so off I retreated to the 'merch' desk to see if there was any No Age stuff I didn't already have. Sadly there wasn't so it was back into the rain for me.