SXSW live shot
Reviewed by Audra Schroeder, Fri., March 24, 2006
Parish, Wednesday, March 15
When a band takes the stage to the opening strains of Metallica's "Enter Sandman," you never expect things to go well from there. Yet, Art Brut made it seem not ironic but rather part of their deliciously dry British humor. The South London quartet's debut, Bang Bang Rock & Roll, is standard punk fare, angular and anthemic, led by singer Eddie Argos' narrative singsong cadence. As he walked onstage sporting a button-down shirt and moustache, he looked like a gonzo, drunk-dad version of Brian Ferry, strutting around, jumping into the crowd, and showing off some choice dance moves. He began almost every song with a declarative "Ready Art Brut?" as the group raced through fist-pumping opener "Formed a Band," the plodding "My Little Brother," and ballad "Rusted Guns of Milan," the lyrics to which include the line "I'm fine when I am with my own hand." By the time they got to "Modern Art," the ass-kicking "makes me want to rock out!" chorus had people throwing fists in the air and spilling drinks everywhere. Argos is a fine frontman, equal parts Mark E. Smith snark and Ferry suave, and eventually all the sneer gives way to making the audience want to rock out, just like Art Brut told us to.