Art Brut frontman Eddie Argos is an anomaly in the rock-and-roll world. With his half-tucked-in button-down shirt, a tie loosely tied around his neck, and his thick, dark hair that limply falls across his forehead, the lead singer of the British art-punk-rock quintet is not exactly a suave heartthrob. He's tall, affable, and a bit pudgy, with enormous Peter Gallagher-esque eyebrows.
But Argos has undeniable charisma, and it carried Art Brut's show Friday night at Johnny Brenda's.
To be sure, the band's tunes are catchy, witty, and fun, but it's Argos' self-deprecating, dry humor combined with his lively antics that make them so appealing to fans of all ages and genre preferences.
The venue was packed, but it wasn't your average weekend night crowd of in-the-know hipsters and music nerds. Nearly a quarter of the club was more than 40 years old, a significant portion in their 50s. College kids in bright colored polos and plaid shorts leaned eagerly against the stage as men sporting Iron Maiden T-shirts and women in three-inch heels and vintage dresses watched the show with equal passion.
As Art Brut wound its way through the hour-long set - plus a 10-minute encore - they covered most of their hits from a six-year career.
The anthems, "My Little Brother," "Emily Kane," and "Alcoholics Unanimous" ignited an already amped crowd.
Argos' extended, stimulating version of "Bad Weekend" took the cake. The tune is already boisterous and belligerent with its chorus of "Popular culture / no longer / applies to me," but Argos took it to a new level by leaving the stage and wading into the crowd.
Surrounded by ecstatic fans, he delivered a quiet spoken-word interlude, teasing the audience with his restrained passion and meanderings, before finally belting out the chorus and igniting a legitimate mosh pit as the whole house - balcony crowd and all - jumped, moved, and sang in a visceral reaction to the music, the night, and its featured performer.