Art Brut/Team Band; June 9, 2009; Schubas
If you subscribe to Eddie Argos’s method of songwriting, anything worth saying once is worth saying over and over and over. Art Brut’s lead singer has never found anything too mundane to be turned into a song, which has can have its charms but ultimately starts to wear thin by the end of the CD, or in this case the second night of a five night stand at Schubas.
The British band outgrew the tiny club a couple years ago after an early afternoon set at Union Park’s Pitchfork Festival and a healthy blog buzz introduced them to a whole score of Midwest fans. Since then they’ve stopped by the much larger Metro on their cross country tours. As part of Schubas 25th anniversary celebration, the band returned to one of the first clubs they played in Chicago with a week’s worth of shows. Thursday’s and Friday’s shows had sold out in advance, but if tonight’s did it wasn’t until at the door. While a full house was present to greet Art Brut, no one seemed in a particular hurry to get to the show, and the room was only half full when openers Team Band took the stage.
They didn’t miss much. The best thing about Team Band may have been the name, but the drummer’s T-shirt which claimed “I Hate Team Band” was a close second. With their simple melodies and silly lyrics, they quite obviously wanted to be Art Brut but lacked that band’s naïve simplicity. In fact, I’m not even sure Art Brut could get away with their odes to “DC Comics and Chocolate Milk” (an actual song title) if it weren’t for their charming British accents and Argos’s complete unwillingness to be the least bit rock & roll. Throughout the set he pulled his worn white T-shirt over his chubby stomach and proceeded to have an unabashed good time, jumping around the stage and even wandering into the crowd for the bulk of one song.
He confessed his love for the very American comic book company several times during the set. A recent tour of the company led to him changing the lyric of one of their early songs from “Modern art makes me want to rock out” to “DC Comics make me want to rock out,” which I found amusing but for people who love that song it was probably disappointing. Considering the child-like simplicity of most of their songs, it becomes increasingly hard to believe that they actually wrote “Emily Kane.” The song which confesses lingering feelings for his first girlfriend, while still not that deep, is a doctorate thesis compared to the rest of their nursery rhymes.
Admittedly, the ridiculousness and repetitiveness of their lyrics can be pretty painful for someone who professes to be a “lyrics girl.” Still, as long as Art Brut, and Argos in particular, continue to have this much fun, I probably will too.