Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Art Brut in New Cross

Art Brut are playing at Goldsmiths Student Union in New Cross tomorrow night (Thursday June 9th) at a Toejam night also featuring Edit/Select and Anita Maj (details here)

I can't quite believe it's seven years since I first saw them at the Paradise Bar in New Cross - now the Royal Albert - but a quick google search locates a review by Betty Clarke in the Guardian of that very gig in April 2004:

'It's difficult to know what Art Brut are about. Pure concept? An intellectual conceit? Or are their screaming rants and jagged chords just examples of south-east London cockiness?

On the basis of one single, Formed a Band, the quintet has been heralded as the spearhead of the emergent New Cross scene. Supported by new local label Angular Recordings, the sound is a ragbag collection of bands for which the anyone-can-play-guitar spirit of 1978 is alive and thrashing.

But singer Eddie Argos wants stardom. Standing among a heaving throng of fellow Angular hopefuls - one of whom wears a white sailor's jacket with matching hat - he leads them in the refrain: "Top of the Pops, Top of the Pops."

That night was also reviewed by Andrew Stevens at 3:am magazine:

'Art Brut (their name taken from the term for no formal training in the arts) are playing the Pop Of The Tops night at the Paradise Bar, this weekly showcase for the local scene rapidly gaining much media interest being put on by Caffy St Luce, the brains behind the Rocklands Tourist Board set up to promote the area's music. Caffy, a feisty young black girl, can rightly point to the area's musical heritage -- not only the bands on Deptford Fun City Records in the late 70s such as Squeeze and ATV, but also the fact that Malcolm McLaren leant his Situationist craft and routine while a student at Goldsmiths College. There is much to keep her occupied today, alongside the Angular bands like Lady Fuzz and The Swear, there are Corporation:Blend, Saint Rose and Special Needs. Before Art Brut take the stage however, local historian Neil Gordon-Orr, a punk survivor from the first time round who now gives talks at the Use Your Loaf social centre nearby, gets up to plug his pamphlet on the area's musical heritage criss-crossed with a bit of radical politics. I am stood at the bar with the former guitarist from C86 mainstays the June Brides and we observe few of the younger members of the audience paying much in the way of attention, this being year zero and all that to them. Art Brut's manifesto is mind-blowingly simple -- the old 'celebrate yourself while you can' formula, as evidenced on their simple but effective single 'Formed A Band'. As I leave the venue, I see flyposters for local nights such as 'Fear Of Music', so clearly the whole art rock thing is catching on if promoters are naming their nights after Talking Heads albums. On the front of the Prangsta shop, I also see one for the Gluerooms, a night of experimental music and toys. It reminds me of the gang of girls I used to see around when I went to Goldsmiths myself - all of them wore fairy wings'.

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