Art Brut at The Independent, 6/15/2009

by Marie Carney on June 16, 2009

Different show, same craziness.  Thanks to joshc on flickr for sharing.

Different show, same craziness. Thanks to joshc on flickr for sharing.

Art Brut is much better live than on record; and their records, particularly 2005’s Bang Bang Rock & Roll, are really good. Front man Eddie Argos’ witty vocals are brilliant on record, but live he is able to take you to another level. There is no other band who can make my cheeks ache from smiling and laughing so much. All there is to say at the end of the evening is “Art Brut:  Top of the Pops!”

The opening band, LoveLikeFire, was likeable. Kind of a shoegaze-y, female fronted, lush-esque sound. Everyone in the band was talented, but they didn’t have that special spark that can ignite the crowd. The most I could say is if I saw them again I wouldn’t be upset about it, but I certainly wouldn’t go out of my way to do so.

When Art Brut took the stage the crowd was immediately excited. I can’t recall the setlist, but I can recall a lot of laughter, and pogo-ing. The “Van Gogh Version” of “Modern Art” was especially wonderful with Eddie taking a trip into the madly dancing audience to tell his story of seeing a Van Gogh exhibit that cost “13 euros” and ended up with him passed out on floor with his head through a painting. It is exactly those kind of antics that you go to an Art Brut show for. Who cares if it’s all made up? (Which he did charmingly admit during “DC Comics and Chocolate Milkshake” stating “this is showmanship.”) It’s theater, it’s punk rock, it’s brilliant.

If Eddie Argos’ banter is not enough to draw you in, he is surrounded by highly entertaining and talented band mates. The fun starts with drummer Mikey Breyer who plays enthusiastically and strongly, all while standing up. The guitarists Jasper Future and Ian Catskilkin have a great shtick, playing off each other without missing a note. Jasper Future in particular has the stage presence to hold the show on his own with his great punk rock poses and facial expressions. Really the only downside is bassist Freddy Feedback who, though providing a strong backbone for the songs, hides on stage right looking as though she’d prefer to be invisible and let the guys take all the glory.

There was also a good mix to the show and everything flowed nicely, though I will say it is hard to get bored when the longest song clocks in around three minutes (long live punk rock!).  They mixed in songs from all three studio albums and one cover of a Ramones song that Eddie said “no one recognized in New York” (more rock and roll showmanship I’m sure, but quite crowd pleasing nonetheless).  During the encore they played “Good Weekend” after one of the fans in the front row requested it and the crowd went crazy, but then they decided to follow that with “Post Soothing Out” which ended the show on a low note to say the least.

I had a good night, but I must admit that when I got home I did not have Art Brut songs in my head.  Maybe it’s just because it’s four years after they were something exciting and new, or maybe it was the letdown of an encore falling flat.  Despite nit-picky issues, go see Art Brut.  You’ll have a fun evening then you can go home humming the same song you were singing to yourself when you got there.

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Gordon Elgart June 17, 2009 at 9:56 am

That photo makes Art Brut look even more exciting than they already are! Sorry I missed this show.

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Vi June 17, 2009 at 12:24 pm

See and I still have the Ramones song stuck in my head.

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