Art Brut gets comfortable during second of five NY shows at Mercury Lounge

Not only does Art Brut sing a lot about the democracy and community of rock ‘n’ roll, the band actually seems to live it.

For example: Instead of waiting backstage for their turn to perform Tuesday at the Mercury Lounge in New York (part of a five-night stand), members of the band hung out in the crowd, watching appreciatively as openers Les Sans Culottes and Murder Mystery warmed up the capacity crowd.

And when it was their turn, Art Brut dove headlong into a strong set of churning punky rock songs punctuated by singer Eddie Argos’ occasional cries of, “Ready, Art Brut?” There are plenty of reasons why it was a great show. Here are four:

1. Eddie Argos’ stage banter: The singer was full of off-handed and often self-deprecating quips, which he delivered in his droll English accent between tunes. “This next song is about ignoring your parents and listening to me instead,” he said by way of introduction for “Nag Nag Nag Nag.” Or, “All of our songs are basically about me taking my clothes off” (as demonstrated above), which led into “What a Rush.” Argos even turned a few technical glitches with his microphone (caused largely by him swinging it around) into material: “I think all these problems are coming because we’re fighting Satan,” he mused at the start of “Demons Out!” a lyric from which yielded the title of the band’s latest, “Art Brut vs. Satan.”

2. The chaotic energy: The band was constantly in motion. Argos jumped around like an excited trout, thrusting his head back and his body forward as if he were just about to clear the surface of the water. Jasper Future occasionally broke from grinding out riffs on his guitar to regard the audience with a slightly unhinged stare before cracking a grin, and drummer  Mikey Breyer remained standing for the entire 17-song set as he thrashed around on drums.

3. The Ramones cover: “We were going to do a different cover every night,” Argos said. “But instead we picked one by a New York band that mentions L.A., so we can do it in both places. That’s our work ethic.” No matter: the band’s version of “The KKK Took My Baby Away” was both unexpected and rendered very much in Art Brut’s jocular style, with Argos using the vocal melody more as an occasional guide than a template.

4. Les Sans Culottes: Singing jittery rock tunes full of basic vocab words in outrageous (and fake) French accents, this veteran New York band kept its tongue firmly in cheek during a 45-minute opening set that included “a protest song about the subway fare increase,” Frenchified covers of “These Boots are Made for Walkin’” and “My Sharona” and catchy originals with titles like “Telefone Douche” and “SOS Elefant.”

Art Brut’s set list: “Alcoholics Unanimous,” “Nag Nag Nag Nag,” “Moving to L.A.,” “The Passenger,” “Direct Hit,” “What a Rush,” “Bad Weekend,” “Demons Out!” “Pump Up the Volume,” “Emily Kane,” “The KKK Took My Baby Away,” “DC Comics,” “My Little Brother,” “Bang Bang Rock & Roll.” Encore: “Formed a Band,” “Twist and Shout,” “Modern Art.”

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