Their line-up is constantly changing but one thing remains, and that is this band’s irrepressible front man, Eddie Argos, who is probably one of the best front men in the entire indie/alternative/punk spectrums. He once again showcased his masterful conducting of his band. Superb performance.
Venue: Rescue Rooms
Date: September 30, 2013
There are fewer front man as enigmatic, charismatic or beguiling as Art Brut’s Eddie Argos. His evocative lyrics and simplistic approach to singing – if you can call it singing; it’s more a social commentary or punk poetry – strike such a chord with his devotees.
The punk-rock that swells around this voice is both visceral and raw, and yet it almost goes unnoticed such is Argos’s domineering presence.
Bounding onto the stage with the energetic clumsiness of a loveable Labrador, his belly spilling out over his strides, Argos commands his band with the hand signal and rallying cry of ‘Ready Art Brut?!’, before launching into ‘Bad Weekend’. The song ends with a tirade about how everyone should form a band and become him basically. He’s not unhinged, it’s just his personality flowing free. And it’s not uncommon.
On ‘Modern Art’, for example, he drops into the throng and rambles on like a demented soul about the Van Gogh art museum in Amsterdam along with a myriad of other batshit mental observations. He then somehow gets everyone in the room to crouch down, before announcing the command for everyone to go crazy at the point of the song’s mantra: “Modern art makes me want to rock out”. Like a punk-rock deity, he owns the crowd, and they jump in unison upon this command.
Elsewhere, particularly on ‘My Little Brother’, he’ll digress, switching the song’s DNA, and telling tales of how his brother is now considered the success story (as a teacher) rather than the clueless 22-year-old he was when the song was first written.
The lovelorn ‘Emily Kane’, on which he longs for his first love is quixotic and poignant (yet loud and boisterous), while the band’s first single and modern-day classic ‘Formed a Band’ is butal and unequivocally ace.
Each and every song, even newbies ‘Arizona Bay’ and ‘We Write Pop Songs’, plucked from the band’s recently-released retrospective album ‘Top of the Pops’, froth with the same vim as their prized assets.
A cry of “Art Brut, Top of the Pops” – a now recognised Art Brut chant dating back to the ‘Formed a Band’ era – welcomes their final song, ‘Good Weekend’, which ends the gig in style.
With more charisma than a thousand front men, and devilishly sharp punk-rock, Art Brut’s art is priceless.