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Art Brut, Buffalo Bar, 09/4/11

posted 7 Apr 2011, 09:09 by Cosmo Godfree   [ updated 9 Jul 2011, 05:34 ]
Tonight is the launch party for Art Brut’s fourth album, ‘Brilliant! Tragic!’. Split into two unique sets, the first hour sees Eddie Argos and co. treating us to a full run-through of every song on the new record, as well as the bedroom antics of free taster download, ‘Unprofessional Wrestling’. Winningly self-deprecating, Eddie warns us before playing ‘Lost Weekend’ that he is about to attempt some ‘proper singing’, an experiment that, by his own admission, is not a huge success. However, his energy and charisma, combined with his witty lyrics, make him a frontman to be reckoned with – he even gets his own instrumental intro as he bounds onstage with a wave, pausing halfway through first song ‘Clever Clever Jazz’ to say “Hi, we’re Art Brut!”, and then we are away.

The majority of the audience haven’t heard any of the new songs (despite the album’s leak which leads Eddie to curse “that Turkish blog”), but this in itself is a special treat, as we are hearing them played live for the first ever time. While the band’s last album, ‘Art Brut vs Satan’, focused on more normal topics such as the joys of public transport and reading DC comics, the new material is more adventurous. ‘Axl Rose’ sees Eddie defending his hero, and declaring “I want to give the world the finger / all except my favourite lead singer”. ‘Ice Hockey’ justifies the use of the word ‘tragic’ in the album title – it is a song that Eddie wrote with the intention of having it played at his funeral, and manages to be sad yet sweetly funny. Of course, Art Brut being the band that they are, it has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with ice hockey. Simply put, it’s really fun as an audience hearing these lyrics and laughing together, and it leaves me with the feeling that ‘Brilliant! Tragic!’ may very well be the best Art Brut album yet…

After a well-earned break, we move on to the second set of the evening, and Art Brut have a game that they want to play with us – the game of ‘Setlist Bingo!’ Simply put, all attendees tonight were asked to put together a list of the seven songs that they wanted to hear most, and to shout/bribe the band into making them play these songs to win a prize For the record, I only needed ‘Pump Up the Volume’ to complete my list… but that’s beside the point! Art Brut go on to play an epic 17-song set of older material, responding to the drunken requests of the crowd. We get a joyous, celebratory session of hits – ‘Emily Kane’ and ‘Good Weekend’ standing out as particular highlights – and everyone in this tiny, sweaty basement bar in Islington is united in their love for the band. How many other gigs do you get this level of interaction at? You call out for ‘Summer Job’, and the band are playing it within seconds! Eddie can’t resist a cheeky dig at another band during ‘Nag Nag Nag Nag’ (“How many girls have The Vaccines seen naked?”), and his off-the-cuff lines and improvised verses are just another great reason why this brilliant band have to be experienced live as well as on record. They’re playing five nights in a row at the Lexington next month. Do yourself a favour and get down there.


...oh, and there would be pictures, but they all came out too blurry - blame my crappy camera/me jumping up and down too much with excitement...