I realize that I go on and on about this blog being your forum too, so to underscore that a bit, our Art Brut ticket winner Valerie has a thought or five on last Sunday night’s show:
It’s hard not to root for Eddie Argos. Art Brut is like the musical equivalent of the Chicago Cubs: they won’t be on Top of the Pops and despite their assurances, they certainly won’t beat Satan but whenever there’s a new Art Brut album, it’s exciting and whenever they’re in town, it’s even more exciting. Because the kitschy speak-sing over angular guitars can get old on repeated listens but I would shell out fifteen dollars to see them every night if given the option. Here’s why.
1. Eddie Argos has remarkably good stage presence. He looks like Doc Oc with a bad dye job and a stupid earring and he sings about embarrassing things like drinking chocolate milkshakes when nearing thirty and not being able to get it up. But while the rest of us would get up there, sing about those faults and still sound like complete losers, he manages to get up onstage and actually look cool. Oh sure, he does things like play jump rope with the microphone cord (and consequently damage it) that never look cool. He also does things that are clearly canned, like letting the microphone droop pitifully out of his hand during “Rusted Guns of Milan.” But for the most part, he can throw himself around stage (or jump amidst the crowd offstage) and rock out just as hard as his idols. Which brings me to number two.
2. He appreciates all that was great about rock and roll and honestly seeks to emulate it. For starters, Argos is clearly a huge Jonathan Richman fan. If this wasn’t obvious from the offset when he bungled the lyrics to “Roadrunner” before going into “Formed a Band,” it should have been obvious before the end of the set. Before every song he asked, “Ready, Art Brut?” as if channeling the spirit of that first Modern Lovers album where Richman repeatedly asked that same summoning question to his own band. He also recognizes the value of continued rock and roll education or questions like, “How am I just finding out about The Replacements?” wouldn’t show up in his lyrics and he wouldn’t punctuate his set with votes of confidence to The Ramones and Iggy Pop. Iggy Pop brings me to number three.
3. He’s not afraid to poke fun where fun poking is due. He regaled the audience before the start of “The Passenger” that he originally had dedicated the song to Iggy Pop since Iggy had an identically titled song. Then Argos found out that the song was about heroin and can no longer dedicate that song to him. Not because of the heroin use, but rather because they no longer have that appreciation for public transit in common. When poking fun at the titular little brother in “My Little Brother” he said that the first song on the mixtape made by the little brother had the very unoriginal “Karma Police” at the beginning. He actually had to leave stage to remind himself how to sing that song. I don’t know that he necessarily has anything against Radiohead (or the Velvet Underground for that matter) but more so the bands that they’ve inspired who have received great success for derivative music and mediocre energy levels. Which is why having Princeton as a tourmate confuses me greatly. They were pretty boring.
4. He’s just as nerdy as we are. He changed the words to “Modern Art” to make it “DC Comics makes me want to rock out.” And then went on this long story, while hopping up and down in the audience about how he went to the DC Comics headquarters and had the bat signal shined in his face. Among other things. And it was glorious.
5. He’s as much of a purist as we are. He went on a rant in the middle of, I think “Bad Weekend” about how last time he went to a record store he first saw DVDs and computer games...and he hates both.