Wednesday night at Bristol’s Thekla gets underway early and Tall Ships perform in a way that would be commendable for a headlining band. It’s rare to see a support band captivate the audience so fully, but completely understandable. The gently harmonised vocals are a contrast to the fast, sharp guitars; a powerful combination, strengthened by the vast crescendos overlaid with solid, lyrical melodies. ‘Vessels’ is a set highlight and a fitting track for the venue, not only in title (for those unaware, Thekla is a boat). The misleadingly slow and delicate opening melts into a thrumming drumbeat, filling the air and we all join in the chanting, “the vessel, that carried you and me, now sits at the bottom, the bottom of the sea…”
The boat was busy enough for Tall Ships, but waiting for Los Campesinos!
it somehow manages to get even cosier; the balcony area looks fit to
burst and down on the floor it’s already uncomfortably warm. That’s not a
surprise. It’s a sold-out homecoming gig, as LC! are fond of reminding
us they’re local (and definitely not Welsh).
Rocking back and forth to the beat, the entire band seems to be
perfectly content with the newer songs. Coming after a few shaky first
gigs with the new material, this is a positive sign. After the aching
beauty of ‘To Tundra’, Gareth solemnly intones that quality is
guaranteed from here on in, as “all the songs left have been featured on BBC3 programmes”.
This is said with a wry smile, he’s fully aware that most people here
are going to know the words to whatever they choose to play. With that,
they launch into the infamous “beer song”. The days of bratty shouting
and atonal glockenspiel are certainly long behind them, but the
anticipation of the gradually building guitar on ‘You! Me! Dancing!’,
comes only partly from nostalgia. It’s a testament to the band’s
understanding of what they mean to their audience that they don’t leave
this one out......
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