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Los Campesinos!, Jeffrey Lewis and the Jitters @ Petit Campus - May 22

Posted by Paloma / May 23, 2008

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Photo taken from Los Campesinos! myspace page

After downing a Red Bull five minutes before Jeffrey Lewis and the Jitters’s set at Petit Campus yesterday, I was a tad jittery myself. When the lights dimmed and two guys began making magical flickering prog rock on stage, I was hoping to dance off the buzz. Instead, their set ended up an anti-folk variety show that included an illustrated history of communism and a naughty ditty about a missed connection by New York City’s famed Chelsea Hotel. Jeffrey Lewis reminded me of a male Kimya Dawson of Juno soundtrack fame, and lo and behold, the two have collaborated. Sufficiently amused by the opener, I was ready to shake it for Los Campesinos! (exclamation mark included).

Formed in Cardiff, Wales just two years ago, these university dropouts put on an indie-pop-rock jamboree that needed only an ounce more energy. (The lead singer apologized for the band being “fragile” after a 6 a.m. border crossing.) I was wondering how these raucous Welsh peasants were signed to Arts & Crafts, the Canadian home of serene acts like Feist and Stars. I figured the seven-piece band played the part of the hyperactive younger brother to Broken Social Scene. Turns out there’s a name for their style -- twee, which is a Britishism for saccharinely sweet. Their back and forth boy-girl harmonies reminded me a bit of the Dresden Dolls, minus the vaudeville cabaret wear. Despite a short set, I’m a sucker for British-accented singing (à la Kate Nash) and I left saying “fank you” for a great show.

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