Loud, fast, silly... yet sincere. These are some of the terms one could use to describe Art Brut, the English/German punk band that started a residency at New York's Mercury Lounge last night. The band played to a sold-out crowd that ate up frontman Eddie Argos' every word, performing songs taken from all three of their albums.
Despite suffering some recent back problems (which he referred to a few times during the night) Argos was in top form as he "jumped rope" with his microphone cord, waxed poetic about comics like Booster Gold, and relayed personal anecdotes to accompany his sometimes equally personal lyrics. He even plunged right into the audience, staying there for a good few minutes, while performing "Modern Art."
The band and audience kept playing off each other the entire night, making it one of the most energetic small shows I've seen in ages. Between their never-ending (successful) attempts to keep us entertained and Argos' lyrics about topics like a love of DC comics and chocolate milkshakes, the band just made us feel like we were all hanging out with a bunch of old friends and acting silly. Only, Art Brut are the types of friends who play sold-out, week-long residencies and get to perform encores after a room full of people shout "Art Brut, Top of the Pops!" Some people just have all the luck.
Setlist: Alcoholics Unanimous, Direct Hit, Modern Art, Summer Job, Rusted Guns, What a Rush, Emily Kane, Demons Out, DC Comics and Chocolate Milkshakes, Pump Up the Volume, Good Weekend, Positively 5th Street, My Little Brother, Nag Nag Nag Nag
Encore: Bang Bang Rock n' Roll, 18000 Lira, Post Soothing Out