Sunday, May 21, 2006

Art Brut & We Are Scientists, Knitting Factory, 5.17.06

Are there any new great things to say about Art Brut? They're all over the place these days, and I just saw them last month at Southpaw. Never a band to disappoint, though, they seemed to rock even harder and at the same time more playfully this time. Guitarists Ian Catskilkin and Jasper Future spaz out just beautifully together, and man does Freddy Feedback love her bass. I must have finally truly heard her for the first time the other night because her arrangements and fat sounds kept sounding better and better with every song.

The more I see Art Brut, the more I understand their ethics and rhetoric. They inspire their audience not just to grab onto joy, but to use that joy to create something with it. Eddie ends every show by asking us what we've been up to creatively since we saw him last, sounding like a new breed of punk Charismatic for the ecstasy generation. Have we made anything? Written something? Played any music, he asks? You certainly don't have to take him seriously - this is, after all, rock and roll. But choose to, and you might welcome the wee little nudge.

When, before the show, I talked to Eddie and asked him if he would describe his music as punk (not a very riveting question, I know), of course he said yes. But a friendly kind of punk, he said, or something close to that. I called it "pure punk love" (as I had in my last post on Art Brut) and he seemed to like that fine. I also told him he looked like he'd lost some weight and he seemed to like that even better (see picture's from last November's show at Northsix for proof!). He told us excitedly that the band would be playing a brand new song tonight, but also expressed the slightest hint of first-time jitters regarding the unvieling of new material for the first time.

Eddie's childlike nervousness and his gleeful, over-stimulated mode of overcoming it are part of his charm ("I know I can, I know I can. It doesn'’t mean that I don'’t love you, one more try with me above you," from "Rusted Guns of Milan"). He was actually quite generous with his time, especially considering that he was trying to be a good date to his gorgeous wife, to whom he seems adorably (and understandably!) devoted, and at the same time be the gracious curator. And he definitely was. He was also just as funny as he is on stage, but even sweeter. No airs. Just pure punk love.

Several bands opened and played downstairs in the Tap Room, all part of the Eddie-Argos-curated evening at the Knitting Factory. Art Brut 47, a.k.a. We Are Scientists, were the surprise openers upstairs in the mainspace. I had never seen them before, and they reminded me how full-sounding and elemental a tight trio can sound. I love all the extras in a band, but strip down to guitar, bass and drums, add some smart, melodic songs and good voices, and be sure to supply a guitarist who needs no help cranking out intricate riffs and thick chords, and there's not much more rock and roll will ever need.

Unfortunately, I lost my camera that night, and offer none of my own pictures. Amrit has pics and review at Stereogum, and Brooklyn Vegan has lots of pics and links to more reviews.


Blogger euskir said...

Sad about the loss of your cam, hope you can get a new one soon. I love the way you "marriage" words and images.

9:04 AM  

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