Los Campesinos!/Help She Can't Swim/Napoleon III: Cardiff The Point, 03/06/07
If you're going to go round calling yourself Napoleon III, you'd better have a pretty impressive act to back yourself up with. And, to be fair, this guy starts out looking like he might have promise: rumbling bass, driving electronics and a martial chant of "Average is not the best you can do." Unfortunately, the next song sounds exactly the same. And the one after that. And the one after that. And well, you get the picture. There's sticking with a winning formula and there's flogging a half-decent idea until your audience would rather pull their own toenails out with pliers than hear it one more time, and this is definitely the latter.
Bored riot grrrl seeks new favourite band. Glitter, energy, clever (in a really angry way not a show-off ironic scenester way) lyrics and ability to REALLY PISS PEOPLE OFF essential. Sounding like Bis and Huggy Bear having a fight in a school music room a bonus. Meet Help She Can't Swim. Think I've found them. www.myspace.com/helpshecantswim
After which, I can't help feeling a bit let down by hometown headliners Los Campesinos! It's not that they're bad or anything - the crowd love them, this being a friends-and-family type gig, they've got infectious indie-pop tunes, and with seven members spread out between as many varieties of instrument, they produce a wall of sound that at times is genuinely jaw-dropping. But they're missing rage and urgency - both essential ingredients of great rock and roll music - and after HSCS it's even nmore obvious. Without those things a band can be decent, even good. But they'll never change your life. Sorry.