Wed 19 Oct
words: JAMES W ROBERTS photos: SIMON AYRE
Everybody talks about the weather. Art Brut don’t. 95kgs walking around: Eddie Argos’ fighting weight sans fringe and tash. A lean, awkward fighting machine. October 2011 sees Art Brut’s first visit to Cardiff for years and, in a world of blokes in anoraks and blokes in anoraks reforming bands of blokes in anoraks, Art Brut are like an incendiary device at a car boot sale.
No hanging about, they launch into the Fall-esque ripper Formed A Band, Argos flailing and blackshirted hollering what is surely one of the finest songs of the decade; ‘his’ band laying down the licks before smashing into Axl Rose, a barnstorming lament to Argos’s “favourite lead singer” including a reference to G’n’R’s baffling alehouse call out Get In The Ring.
Lurching back to their debut album Bang Bang Rock & Roll, they rifle through My Little Brother before Argos admits that the subject matter is no longer 22, but nearing 30, a teacher, and it is now our frontman who is the subject of Christmas dinner questions that amount to “when will you get a proper job?” instead of “playing the same venues for five years”.
The sweat and self-loathing pulsating from Clwb’s stage and the awkwardness of Art Brut are reasons to love again. Lost Weekend is palpably identifiable to any arrested development-laden boy about town: Argos’ rants about meeting girls in art galleries and pretending to know about the art just to get his end away are endearing and close to the bone for many.
Also, kudos to anyone who can make a fullish Clwb all sit down to a song about Modern Art and headbutting a Matisse, but that’s exactly what happens. Everyone seated, hanging on the every word, his every shame, then fully erect we’re bouncing through the aceness of Bad Comedian. The best is saved for last. Emily Kane is beautifully focused yet chaotic, its touching, charming subject matter – “every girl that I’ve seen since looks just like you when I squint” – cuts through the folly and self-deprecation to underline that Art Brut are a national treasure and Eddie Argos a bloody legend.