Art Brut – Mercury Lounge – June 3, 2009June 4th, 2009
Eddie Argos, lead singer of Art Brut, looked out into the audience and deadpanned: “My sex is on fire.” It was fairly late in the set and Argos had already made clear his disdain for Kings of Leon. But to clarify, he elaborated: “Twelve revisions and a million dollars and we got ‘My sex is on fire.’ What does it mean? What the fuck does any of it mean?” It’s an appropriate question—especially from the front man of the most deconstructionist rock band ever.
Made moderately famous in 2005 for the song “Formed a Band,” Argos remains one of the most candid, if potentially sarcastic, front men on the market. His forthrightness on this night bled as much earnestness as it did candor. He bounced around the stage spinning stories about DC Comics (even ad-libbing the company into “Modern Art”) and jilted lovers. Despite his rainbow-colored shirt, Argos was less ironic than you might think. In fact, underneath the whole deconstructionist act, Art Brut was lethally serious.
The band was smack in the middle of a five-night residency at the Mercury and they looked no worse for wear, though Argos mused, “I’m running out of original things to say.” This bout of self-awareness was disarming and the band immediately launched into “Emily Kane” with Argos annotating about the power of rock and roll. The show was sold out and the crowd had the band’s lyrics more than memorized. Art Brut eventually left on “Bang Bang Rock & Roll,” a song that again pointed the lens inward and still left the audience wanting more. What does it all mean? We don’t have coherent answers—just be happy Art Brut is asking the questions. —Geoff Nelson