Art Brut Top

2005 was a very interesting year for me. I was a freshman in high school, I was struggling to fit in with a new crowd, and my musical tastes were changing. I had become utterly disillusioned by what was played on the radio, as the stations in Houston only played bands that had long ago past their prime, or ones appealed to the Hot Topic crowd. As a result, I looked to the internet to provide musical solace. It was there that I discovered Art Brut. The London group’s blend of punk like energy and lead singer Eddie Argos’ witty lyrics about modern art and his hate for the Velvet Underground instantly struck a chord with me.

Fast forward four and half years, and I now have the pleasure of saying that I have experienced Art Brut live. The band has a way of connecting with the audience that makes them feel like they are a part of something, and the sheer manic energy that can be found their records is only magnified when they play to a crowd. They are a truly one of a kind act, and they ably proved that with their Mohawk performance.

The night started off with the Los Angeles based group Princeton. While very dissimilar from Art Brut, they played a strong and convincing set that demonstrated an enormous amount of potential.  Their sound can be best described as a sort of throwback to the late 60’s and early 70’s, when groups like Van Morrison would weave their tales of love over softer, more laid back instrumentation. Twin brothers Jesse and Matt Kivel alternate on guitar and bass, and they each share vocal duties. Both brother’s voices have a sort of natural, soothing quality to them, their baritones a nice contrast to the majority of groups these days. Each member possesses a great amount of musical talent (the drummer even played bass on a percussion-less song), and by the end of their set, I was convinced that given the right opportunity Princeton have what it takes to make it big.

The crowds excitement grew as Art Brut was set to take the stage. The band has developed a loyal fan base, and there was a healthy amount of them present on a Sunday night.  As they made their way on stage, it was like your friends from the crowd were heading up to perform, as they had been present for the entirety of Princeton’s set.

Argos, who speaks into the microphone more than sings, was celebrating his birthday, and started things off by admitting to the crowd that he was a little drunk. The band then proceeded to play “Formed A Band,” a cut off their debut album “Bang Bang Rock & Roll.” One of the recurring motifs throughout the night was Argos adding on to his already hilarious lyrics. For example, on “Formed A Band,” after stating that “We’re going to be the the band that writes the song that makes Israel and Palestine get along,” he added “And then America and Scotland, easy peasy.” These additions worked to enhance the overall experience. Other such instances included Argos talking about how he finally got back in touch with his first love, the subject of the song “Emily Kane,” and describing how his clothes were scattered all over the band’s tour bus the morning of the show on the riotous “Alcoholics Unanimous.”

The majority of the material the group played was from “Bang Bang Rock & Roll” and this year’s “Art Brut vs. Satan.” They played only three or four songs from 2007’s “It’s A Bit Complicated,” and rightly so, as it the weakest of their three albums. However, the songs they did play from that album were equally as strong as the material from the other two, as evidenced by the crowd’s reaction to the opening riff’s of “Direct Hit.”

While Argos worked his magic on the microphone, the other four members of Art Brut played with a contagious amount of energy. Most of their songs are fast and filled with instrumental hooks, and each member played as though a train was chasing him or her. Guitarists Ian Catskilkin and Jasper Future played their instruments with a sort of cheeky swagger, and bassist Frederica Feedback and drummer Mikey Breyer (who played his kit standing up) provided a strong rhythm section that pulled everything together.

The sheer level of interaction between the band and the crowd made for a truly remarkable experience. On the group’s DC Comics version of their song “Modern Art,” Argos went down into the crowd and spent a good five minutes describing a fictitious visit to the DC Comics headquarters. Watching him walk around the floor, speaking lines “I found the Bat Cave, that’s where they keep all of their Batman writers”, is something that will stay with me for a long time to come. Additionally, Jasper Future initiated a call and response on several songs, and many people in the crowd were dancing to almost every song. It all made for a vibe between the band and the show goers that was nothing short of infectious.

By the time Art Brut finished their encore, it was evident that they had pleased just about everyone in attendance. People were laughing and talking with each other about the show, and everyone I talked to was in a very good mood. Art Brut know how to put on an inclusive, energetic, and talent filled  live show, and it made me all the happier that I made it down to Mohawk on a school night.

Princeton:

Princeton 1

 

Princeton 2

Princeton 3

Art Brut:

Art Brut 1

Art Brut 2

Art Brut 3

Art Brut 4

Art Brut 5

Art Brut 7

Art Brut 6

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