Nottingham locals, Proper English Gentlemen, took the first support slot, offering their own brand of jangly punk. Whilst the band’s quality was very inconsistent, several of their songs had enough edge to indicate potential.
Keith TOTP followed, though not particularly impressive musically, the band were brilliant live entertainment- performing like Jonathan Richman and The Modern Lovers playing British Pub Rock. With his long spoken introductions into love songs he had written about himself, Keith proved a very fitting warm-up for the main act.
The most striking thing when Art Brut took the stage was how genuinely energetic Eddie still is. As he sang, he would manically move around, stopping on occasions and standing poised as if hinting at a stage dive, only to then return to jumping around.
This energy overdrive was channelled into singing, as well, with long extensions added to various songs. Considering most of Art Brut’s lyrics usually contain long whimsical rants, these snuck up on you. The gig thus became a confusing game with the audience left trying to decide what had always been written in the song, what was part of the tour’s performance and what was spontaneous to this very gig.
Something which seemed to be at least partly spontaneous involved Eddie striding into the crowd and commanding everyone to crouch around him, whilst he told a story. Halfway through he seemed to lose conviction and confess he wasn’t exactly sure where he was going with this. Eddie mumbled something about having been kidding, and that he did know really, he then went back to going absolutely nuts.
Possibly the biggest climax of the show came when Eddie sat on the stage during a mid-song rant and trailed off into analysing the band’s current position. Eddie’s awareness of their situation as a band is painfully precise; he seemed to understand their magnum opus was behind them and whilst they could probably get by, their fanbase is not getting any bigger. After this speculation he turned back to the band and awkwardly asked “what song were we on again?”.
Art Brut are not rising stars and they’re not elderly legends. Their new material isn’t particularly good. But scrap all that, the band are still contending with the current music elite when it comes to putting on an amazing live show.
…Ian is listening to Danny Brown – ‘Dope Fiend Rental’…