Modern art makes me want to rock out: Art Brut at Middle East downstairs

Nothing will take the wind out of a superfan’s sails faster than being told that his or her favorite new buzz-band is "ironic." So when Eddie Argos, singer for hot as shit (shit’s hot, right?) Art Brut strutted on stage at the Middle East Downstairs with a wispy mustache, he may as well have had “IRONIC HIPSTER” tattooed on his forehead. Then again, any potential for detached cool was negated by his dull brown pants and two-sizes-too-large dress shirt.

Art Brut clearly couldn’t care less about looking cool or striking some bizarre set of poses. Argos probably has the silly mustache because he thinks it looks good on him (and it does). It’s the same reasoning behind his spastic failing and the band’s primal rock and roll. If it feels good, do it .
The most beguiling thing about Art Brut is that they are dead fucking serious. So, judging from the lyrical content the someone in the band was in love with a girl named Emily Kane, has an issue with erectile dysfunction, saw a girl naked (!!), gets fucking excited about modern art and robbed an Italian bank of about $11.40. Well, maybe not that last one...although considering the sheer amount on conviction that those lines are delivered with, I wouldn't put it past them.

The band opened with their first British single "Formed a Band," a song so colossally simple that it is rumored to have gotten he band the boot from Rough Trade Records. But it is also a song so colossally euphoric that it had the 2/3 capacity crowd pogoing along right from its first notes.

True to their album, the band was simultaneously both loose and tight. Notes were missed and guitar lines slightly flubbed, but never once did they slow down, not even to let their garrulous singer catch his breath. Repeatedly throughout the set, Argos would get caught mid-rant by the band tearing headlong into the songs chorus. It was an odd thrill, as if the show itself was about to fly off the hinges and into oblivion. Of course, the show nearly ended mid-set when Argos ran through the crowd and jumped on the back bar. A bouncer mistook him for an over zealous fan and nearly fired out the club’s door.

But it was all in the name of fun. As the band lead the crowd in a chant of “ART BRUT! ART BRUT! TOP OF THE POPS! TOP OF THE POPS!” you had to wonder how many of those in attendance even knew what “Top of the Pops” really is. But what the fuck did it matter? It was Monday night and everyone was sweaty and screaming and having the time of their lives. And let’s not over-think that.
-- Eli Anderson
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