The Music Warrior

Forcing Music down the throats of the unreceptive since 2006

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Live- Art Brut

Can you hear that, Chicago? Can you hear the Rock? I can!

Art Brut rocked out the Metro in their typical cockny rock-mocking style. Yes, it was magnificent.

After two entertaining, if somewhat confuddling, opening acts (a hardcore british punk band followed by an electro-synth-pop duo that, I think, was on Ecstacy, and who didn't like to keep their clothes on), Enter the Sandman. And by the Sandman, I mean Art Brut. Though, they did start "Formed a Band" with the riff from the afformentioned track.

The key to Art Brut live is that nothing sounds as it does on the album- there are added verses, switched up lines- if you can keep up with Eddie Argos' vocals, you can't help but laughing.

"Stay away from Pete Dougherty", he decrees as the guitars die down after his rendidtion of "My Little Brother", ends with the line "Stay off the crack". His pointed reference to the former member of The libertines, whose inability to stay clean eventually broke up his band. Argos continues- "He's a bad man. If he thinks he's so great, why can't he take his word, and take it straight?"

"This is our first show using a set list," a recently-mustached Argos sheepishly admits halfway through the show. "It's thrown us a bit off". They did seem a little unsure of themselves at times, especially compared to their near-flawless show at Schuba's last fall (Mp3s of that show are available in this post). But, compared to a live show of, say, Interpol, who simply play album-carbon-copies without any banter, Art Brut knows how to rock out.

Modern Art made Argos rock out... and off of the stage, as he ran around the audience as crowd members jostled and lept in approval. "Emily Kane" saw a complete stop in the song halfway through as Argos, putting on his serious face, while still yelling to the kids, says "this is the part of the song where I tell you that I actually got a call from Emily Kane. We talked about lots of things, like her new boyfriend, but I realized something. I wasn't in love with Emily Kane, I was in love with being 15 and being in love!" And suddenly, the instruments pick up all over again, and the song goes on as if nothing had happened.

The song leading to the encore, Bad Weekend, sparkles live, and also swells to almost 8 minutes, as Argos screams over the instrumental backdrop of the song his intent to find everyone at the pitchfork festival (Art Brut's appearance there was announced earlier that set), as he would ask us all if we've formed a band.

If we could all be as good as Art Brut, we all damn well should.

Art Brut- Formed a Band (Live)
Art Brut- Emily Kane (Live)

Art Brut- Bad Weekend (Live)

Monday, April 03, 2006

Live- Clap Your Hands Say Yeah

It was a sunny, post-Daylight-Savings evening, and the Metro was abuzz. Everyone's favorite hype band, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, were ready to rock a show that had sold out in less than half of a day. I looked to my left, and in front of me, and soon began to feel trapped. I was surrounded by... preppies.... at... an indie concert?

My hipster sense was tingling.

In the back, Thax Douglass stood by himself, passed by the vast throngs of North Face wearing, popped collared members of Sigma Chi. I talked to him briefly, and left with a tantilizing rumor (My Morning Jacket and The New Pornographers are playing at Northwestern on April 22??? Is that possible?) after wishing him good luck with his poem.

The Brunettes, hailing from New Zealand, warmed the crowd up with a high energy, multi instrumental feast for the eyes and the ears- their sound effectively melding Pet Sounds with Olivia Tremor Control. There was a saxaphone, a clarinet, a trumpet... and masks of Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen circa 1993. On most of the members. As they sing about the partying of the afformentioned twin billionaires.

Then, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah were ready to go. Thax came out and read his poem (a very hobbity looking frat boy standing in front of me, unaware of the etiquette of an Indie show, yells "SANTA CLAUS!" as Thax takes the stage), and the band got ready to play.

There was no witty banter, and hardly any talking at all by the band members, which really was unfortunate. The music was good- it was very polished, and at times expanded or rocked out sections of various songs, but I was hoping that they'd mix things up a bit more.

Three new songs were played- the first was a bit-too-polished poppy track called something like "Summertime Love", which melded amazingly into "Is This Love" (one of the best transitions of the night). The second was slower, and sounded like a decent, if not alltogether different, version of "Details of the War".

The third and last "new" song they played was one that I was hoping they would, and it also exibited some of the best energy the band showed throughout the show. "Satan Said Dance" is spooky, quirky, and inventive- CYHSY at the top of their game. Remarkably heavy instrumentally, the song, which came just before "This Tidal Wave of Young Blood" ended their pre-encore set, was probably the bright spot of the concert.

The encore was fun, if predictable- "Clap Your Hands" (with a rocky twist) followed by "Heavy Metal", which confirmed to me that that particular song was, in fact, the one the band thought everyone would want to hear. They were right- we did want to hear it- it was fun and full of energy, but as I streamed past short, curly haired fraternity brothers with their arms around two women, wearing their stripped, button down shirts like douchebag badges, and I headed out into the night, I couldn't help but feel that something was missing.

Clap Your Hands Say Yeah- Satan Said Dance (Live)