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Art Brut at the Satellite on Saturday, August 27th, 2011

‘We have a song called ‘Moving to LA’, but we aren’t gonna play this one!’ said Art Brut's frontman Eddie Argos after a few songs,… too bad I love the way he says ‘to Laaaaaiiiiii’, but anyway he was happy to be here, he said it many times, and anyone who sings ‘There's not much glamour 'bout the English weather…. I'm gonna get myself deported/I'm considering a move to LA’, gets my vote!

But in reality he lives in Berlin, so I am not sure he has a problem with the rainy weather,…. Sure, everything about Argos screams funny irony and sarcasm, and he seems to be born to make others laugh. But what is this obsession with Axl Rose? He already wanted to hang around with him in that tune they did not perform, and ‘Axl Rose’ was the second song they played on Saturday night at the Satellite, the club that was welcoming some of the bands rescued from the Sunset Junction Fair debacle.

During the whole show, Eddie Argos and his intentionally half-spoken-half-sung tone delivered in his thick and amusing English accent were center stage, he is the masterpiece of Art Brut with his stormy personality and fun-loving stage presence. He was constantly changing position and each one of his errant moves was backed up by the let’s-not-take-ourselves-seriously attitude of guitarists Ian Catskilkin and Jasper Future, bassist Freddy Feedback and drummer Mikey Breyer. When Argos is on stage, it is difficult to ignore him, or to observe the other band members as a matter of fact, although Jasper Future’s silly poses were also a lot of fun.

Largos wants you to form a band, he has a song about his ‘little brother’, who is now a grown-up man and a teacher, and has another obsession beside Axl Rose,… the weekend: the songs ‘Lost weekend’ (the one when he flirts with a bitter line ‘I’m sorry if I embarrassed you by saying something stupid like I love you’), ‘Good weekend’ (with the funny and insisting line ‘I've seen her naked twice!’), ‘Bad weekend’ (Is it me or the first notes of that song sound like ‘Hazy shade of winter’?) were all written down on the setlist, although I’m not sure in what order they played them since he had rumpled the setlist sheet very early on and was asking for requests. 'Oh ask for a one we can actually play!' he said after a request from the crowd,… ‘Yes this next one is also about a lost weekend’ he jokes just before singing ‘Alcoholics Unanimous’.

He was moving all the time, he told stories and jokes, ‘yes, because it is this one who can actually play guitar, not this one’ pointing to Jasper Future when someone was fixing Ian Catskilkin’s guitar,… but I got only half of the jokes, blame this on the mic which was not always working right or my difficulty to get his English accent, or both. He wandered in the middle of the crowd and made people kneel down in a circle around him during ‘Modern Art’, then did the same with his musicians later on, ’We never do that’,… he was funny, restless, he jumped a few times, was constantly pushing back his lock of black hair masking his face, was rolling his eyes and seduced the crowd with his wit. All night long he worked hard at being a perfect showman, but everything seemed effortless.

The music was non-stop high-energy garage-rock-post-punk, having chosen a lot of songs from their debut album ‘Bang Bang Rock & Roll’ and very few from their last one ‘Brilliant! Tragic!’, the band sure delivered that sort of cheeky getting-things-off-the-chest statements with this contagious punk energy on Saturday night. All along, you cannot miss the fact that Pixies' frontman Frank Black is the producer of their last two albums, but this was my first experience with Art Brut, I knew a few songs, but was not really familiar with any of their material. Helen loves the guy, I have to say he is quite a lovable fellow but the scene was more about his charismatic presence than about the music itself, as the songs worked more because of his non-singing odd delivery over these hard rocking riffs than because of the catchiness of the melodies.

Here is the setlist, whatever they played this or not!

Formed a Band
Axel Rose
My Little Brother
Arizona Bay
Direct Hit
Modern Art
Lost Weekend
Alcoholics Unanimous
Rusted Guns of Milan
Emily Kane
Unprofessional Wrestling
Good weekend
Bad Weekend
Post Soothing Out

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