Art Brut - $13 @ The Black Cat 10/17/06
Are you ready Rock Club?
Form a band. This is what Art Brut wants you to accomplish with your life. It seems like good advice until you realize that the members of Bang Bang Bang took it to heart. This show basically calls us back to the origins of Rock Club. Not only did it fulfill our latent desire to be thoroughly rocked, but Art Brut itself avoids the pretension of the big-egoed "artists" and reminds us of why we like to rock. Rock, if nothing else, is supposed to be fun. And not whimsically fun like watching a pinwheel spin, but the kind of fun you have when you strap a video camera to a monkey and send him on a roller coaster - intense fun with a degree of ludicrousness (yes, it's a word, look it up). Well maybe that's not the best analogy, but this act does everything you'd want them to. Let's start with their membership and their look. First the drummer (Mikey B) stands upright throughout the show. No sitting down on the job here. The bass player is a chic. She has purple hair, stands off to the side and goes by the name Freddy Feedback. Nuff said. The lead guitarist (Ian) has a Nikki Sixx hair-do and can "jam." Lead singer, Eddie Argos, is British. I'm pretty sure the rest of the band is too, but I haven't heard them talk, so I can't be certain. And Mr. Argos likes to sing without wearing his shoes. He used to have a mustache and I've seen him dressed sorta paramilitary-like. His hair flopped in a certain way reminiscent of a young frustrated Austrian, but that was a loooong time ago. That's an older photo of Eddie on the right. He likes to drink. I know this because he told me so. And this photo proves it. But unlike when I saw him in April, Eddie is now unmustachioed and is getting a bit bloated. But it doesn't keep him from being fucking cool! Just look at him with the C. Lee look-a-like. He's a riot. Lastly, Jasper Future, who kinda looks like the annoying blonde guy from Queer Eye for the Straight Guy (I know you know who I'm talking about, don't play dumb) plays guitar for Art Brut. He wears a kerchief, and is straight-up 1982. He'll even throw a windmill from time to time. He has the kind of energy that only comes from being under 30 and from an overdose of rock. All this adds up to one simple truth (or elaborate lie), these guys have fun rockin' out. And that's the kind of thing that inspires Rock Club.
Now, I must admit that this October show was very similar to the Art Brut we saw in April. The set was pretty much the same with a few different tunes, but what can you expect after only 6 months and a rather limited catalog? But the strength of this act is more than just the musical performance, it is the theatrics as well. And for me, this is an essential part of a good live show, otherwise, why bother leaving the comforts of your surround-sound living room? Built to Spill should take note (and TJ should write his review so you know what I'm talking about). One of the highlights for me was watching Eddie Argos use the microphone cord to jump rope. Jump rope! Let's see Lukass Rossi try that, mo' fo.' Argos also made his way on to the floor during one song and into the crowd for several minutes before returning to the stage. He actually walked right passed me. I was going to buy him a drink, but he walked by too quickly. But that's how this band keeps it real. I also liked the point in one song toward the end of the show (no, I don't remember the name of the song, sue me), where the band paused for a beat, and faked out the crowd. They all laughed at our expense, but it wasn't malicious. It was good old fashioned tomfoolery wrapped up in a lovely bouquet of punk rock.
This was a great Rock Club show. Perhaps the best that I've attended to date. I would have spent $15 on that show, easily. My only hope for Art Brut is that they disband before they become a parody of themselves.