Art Brut @ Bowery Ballroom

The neutrality of this article is disputed.
Please see the discussion on the talk page.

I love the Bowery Ballroom’s balcony. I can see a band from a comfortable seat, watch the audience in all its quirkiness, and feel like a VIP (as much as I can feel like a VIP while still paying $20 for my ticket and $6 for a drink…pfff). Tuesday night, my friend Rachael and I attended the Art Brut show at the Bowery Ballroom. We secured my favorite seat on the balcony — the far corner overlooking the band. I was excited to see Art Brut. It’s been a while since I’ve listened to Bang Bang Rock and Roll, the latest (and only) Art Brut album, but I know every word. It’s one of those albums you listen to for a week straight and then, since they’re British and funny, you learn every word. Or is that just me? Anyway, Art Brut were the headliners and only two bands separated me from my funny Britsh friends.

Bling Kong opened the show. With three cheerleaders, three drummers, two guitarists, and a bass player, all I could think of is how much the Bowery sound crew must have hated them. Instead of singing back-up, the cheerleaders carried the songs. They started each one with a cheer, mostly about themselves or cocks, which turned out to be a common theme throughout their performance. The cute blonde cheerleader passed out programs before the show which came with Bling Kong’s lyrics. As she walked around in her little pink skirt, tight white shirt, and pink legwarmers, it was another reminder of why I love the balcony. The male cheerleader was also fun to watch since he was wearing more make-up and glitter than David Bowie ever did. The lyrics say it all:

I want to hear a song I know / Hey, BLING KONG, play the one that goes / Ba-ba-da-ba-ba-ba-da-ba-ba / This is the time / The time to make out / Turn to your left and give that person a hand job

Yeah. Every song is as bad as this one. While Bling Kong made for an entertaining opener, everything was put into perspective when I closed my eyes. [Closing eyes] Their music sucks. It made me laugh, but it’s bad, very bad music.

The Pony’s, thank God, were surpisingly good. It sounded like In Utero channeled through Brian Jonestown Massacre… in a good way. Their songs would build up in typical psychedelic goodness then come down with sonic, ear-splitting jams. As I looked into the audience during one of the extended jams, I saw a man in his mid-thirties who must have been on E. With a big grin on his face, he kept hitting his chest repeatedly and laughing. Did I mention I LOVE the balcony? While I haven’t heard their latest record, judging from their live show, I’d put the Pony’s in the same category as the Velvet Underground, Sonic Youth, and My Bloody Valentine. Their sound is good. I’d see them again.

Now for Art Brut. It had been a strange night already, but in no way was I prepared for the transormation of the Ballroom’s audience. Art Brut walked on stage and started playing “Enter Sandman” by Metallica as an intro to “Formed a Band,” the first song on their album. Immediately a mosh pit formed. Mosh pit? I haven’t seen a mosh pit since my last Warped Tour in 1998. (I saw Blink 182 that year, who coincidently share a passion for cocks with our opener Bling Kong.) It was strange to see bearded hipsters moshing, or moving for that matter. Art Brut loved it. Front man Eddie Argos egged on the crowd, at one point he even joined the mosh. His dirty pink socks were just about to fall off as he sang (or spoke) the final words: “Job well done, Art Brut!”

Bang Bang Rock and Roll will be released in the US on May 23rd and according to Argos will have extra tracks. They’re playing at Southpaw on April 11th, so it’s not too late to see them. Tickets are still available, but won’t be for long! Southpaw has a balcony right?

Other blogs with pictures from the same show:

Chris’ Music Snobbery


Brooklyn Vegan

10 responses to “Art Brut @ Bowery Ballroom”

  1. i especially like the cheerleader photos @ chris’ music snobbery and the in-the-pit photos of art brut at stereogum. looks like a fun night. it seems like years since that night at lane’s studio when he called in and had one of the night DJs play “formed a band,” which was all of a couple days old, so we could hear it. “hey! look at us!”

  2. bacon says:

    Art Brut at the Black Cat on Sunday. Have tickets. Will print out article and read during encore.

  3. Lane says:

    Yeah, Art Brut . . . hmmmm. I wish I could say they lived up to the astonishing promise that “Formed a Band” held in it’s demo version.

    Unfortunately I cannot. The version of “Formed a Band” on the studio release is a lesson in what a small death professionalism can be. They polished the life out of it.

    As for the rest of the album? . . . well, . . . Irwin (Wednesdays 12 -3) sure likes it.

  4. bacon says:

    This is mostly a response to Ferrell’s post, but sometimes I get the feeling that Popular Culture no longer Applies to Me.

  5. Lane says:

    Stop! Please stop. This is exactly the kind of overly literate, insiderish, Cambridge educated “witisiscsm” that kills Art Brute’s endevour.

    If ever there was a band to make Oasis look good this is it.

  6. Nathan Waterman says:

    Lane, the show was quite raw — and fun. The songs had the rough energy of the demos played on WFMU a few years back.

    It isn’t irony (Bling Kong). It isn’t rock and roll (Pony’s). They’re just talking. TO THE KIDS!

    It was a great show bacon, I think you’ll enjoy yourself. Just stay clear of the mosh pit — it looked dangerous. DYE YOUR HAIR BLACK. NEVER LOOK BACK!

  7. Robyn says:

    I have a feeling seeing Art Brut at the Knitting Factory would be kinda scary. I mean, if a mosh pit formed there, then…um…the result would be inescapable doom.

    I listened to a Bling Kong song. Oh my god, why? That’s all I’m sayin’.

  8. Bacon says:

    Art Brut Sunday night in DC: loud and rough, which of course I like. I found myself standing close to the stage right in front of the PA amps, and I’m just starting to recover the hearing in my right ear.

    Shar, Lisa, and their two friends fled the scene two songs into the set. The force of the music flung them violently against the back wall of the Black Cat, and they may have left to seek medical attention for their injuries.

    The Washington Post complained that the instrumentals overpowered the vocals, but that overall the band was a fun and lively. That was just fine with me, because sometimes the lyrics can be a little too art-punk clever.

    No mosh pit of course. DC has been neutered by Fugazi and their self-righteous rants about fan etiquette. The last show I saw a mosh pit was Turbonegro (you can imagine how they would feel about Fugazi).

  9. Shar says:

    It was not two songs in, we were there for a good 45 minutes of the set which is pretty amazing for a bunch of middle-aged girls on a sunday night at 11pm in washington, d.c.

    I loved the music but was frustrated because nathan had talked about his funny british friends and i couldn’t hear a word…Bacon is a freak for standing next to the speakers – when I went to say goodbye to him i reinjured my ears. I can’t wait to hear the cd at a civilized volume.

    Btw, we saw Franz Ferdinand and Death Cab for Cutie last night. FF rocked. No one does pop like the British. DCC was alternately brilliant and flat. I feel bad for the people who left before the encore out of indifference, as they finally came alive in the last three songs.

  10. Anonymous says:

    longines vintage watch…