I know I can, I know I can
...or 10 things about last night's Art Brut show at Southpaw
1. Contributor Bryan had a +1 to the Art Brut* show at Southpaw and since I am very skilled at the +1 game, I said pick me! pick me! And so I went, leaving the VCR taping American Idol (F'ing QUEEN night! Ha ha ha ha ha ha!) and hopped on ye olde 63 bus for some hoped for good times.
2. Southpaw has a new bar in the downstairs area where the you can escape the opening bands. PSYCH! No, you can't. Their live image is projected on a sheet and the audio plays over the speakers. This can be a good thing, especially when you don't recognize The Rogers Sisters from the projection because their bass player looks like a fetchingly striped clad lady in tight jeans. The sound said otherwise, so I got the hell upstairs. In front of me, in the flesh, the bass player looked like he did the last time I saw him, namely, male. Projections are tricky that way.
3. It is possible, if you form an island of tall people to save your spot/protect you from carrion, to get to the bathroom and back to the front of the Southpaw stage, in 7 minutes. No foolin'. I timed it.
4. Eddie Argos, strong browed leader of Art Brut, has eyes that look like sad brown buttons** and a black moustache that, when his mouth is closed for put-upon effect, looks like this: /\. When he talk-sings, he uses his hands to punctuate his phrases, so the overall effect is like sitting in a bar with one of your friends as they tell you some terribly funny self-mocking anecdote about their sex life, someone they used to be obsessed with when they were 15 and how their little brother just discovered Rock 'n' Roll. Right down to the bar noise suddenly getting so loud that you can no longer hear them, but still you watch them and nod in empathy as those hands chop at the air and the mouth moves in silence.
5. Before every song, Argos would turn quickly on his heels, and crisply say (this from a man who claimed he was practically comatose from various allergy/flu medicines) "Ready, Art Brut?" to his band mates. And Art Brut would launch right into it with fervor and passion.
This reminded me of two things...first, of a middle-aged lion tamer and some very game tigers. Secondly, because I couldn't for the life of me figure out why I thought of lion tamers, that everything about his delivery reminded me of Laurence Olivier in the film The Entertainer, which is the story of a vaudevillean who spends his evenings performing his pathetically shabby act as part of a revue and his daytime hours ignoring his family and staving off his corrosive self-pity.
Let me explain...this doesn't make sense as a comparison to Art Brut's act. Especially considering that their set had more happiness, joy and PRESENCE than most bands I've had to stand through in the past few years. But...but as Argos kept repeating "Everyone disappoints me" after pleading with everyone in the crowd to start their own bands, I felt this same sense of something fading. The sadness. The fleeting moment. This experience would end. Had ended. Bye! How do you keep it, hold onto it? You can't. What did I do in response to this totally inappropriate train of thought? I jumped up and down and SCREAMED "toot toot toot toot toot toot!" in Bad Weekend until the feeling went away.
6. I had a sticker. I used it. Too bad it was on upside down. Alas, I never learned to read. No disrespect to Mr. Argos. I'm taking his DIY urgings seriously. Very seriously.
7. Art brut = bass (Freddy Feedback - hard kohl-rimmed eyes, singing along to all the songs with no mic, legs in gunslinger stance), lead guitar (Ian Catskilkin - Rat Scabies hair, ski slide down a razor guitar lines), rhythm guitar (Jasper Future - skinny cartoon blond in a playboy t + neck-bandana combo, enjoyed his playing immensely despite his stylishness) and drums (Mickey B - played kit standing, wow) = one fine tiger.
8. There was a mosh pit. Not the sissy elbows kind but the actual hurricane style shove, skank, climb on stage, big man flies out into audience kind. Luckily, I did not have to use my well practiced scrotum grab and pull. However, my hand was at the ready.
10. Really, really good: Formed a Band, Emily Kane, the b-side I didn't recognize. Really, really yeah-uh!: Bad Weekend, Rusted Guns of Milan.
11. Ok, I lied about there being 10 things. But this is important. I know that it's difficult to be motivated to go see a band that everybody on the internet is writing about like it's THE show to be seen at (i.e. Voxtrot, Tapes N Tapes) I know this because I feel the same way when I read the same instructions everywhere I go to read about music. I don't want an experience that's been taken out of my hands, with a foregone conclusion. I want something special. Well, I looked around that venue and saw everyone in their own little ecstatic world and that's how it should be. One woman's sublime with tigers and bathetic black and white British films is another's I need to start a band with my friends TONIGHT or even just a simple, I loved that song! That's what counts, is it not?
* I first gave an incomprehensible shout out to Art Brut here.
** In my world, buttons can be sad. So can chairs, doorways, newspapers and blades of grass. Deal with it.
Band to see live: Art Brut