We Are Scientists
Art Brut, The Spinto Band
Orlando, Fl • Sept. 20, 2006
Despite the Raconteurs’ gravitational pull, Art Brut and We Are Scientists managed to pack The Social on Wednesday night.
The crowd bubbled in anticipation as Art Brut took the stage. Eddie Argos, self-professed non-musician and leader of Art Brut, pointed like a dictator and shrugged like a comedian. While his repetitive, chanted choruses on “My Little Brother” and “Move to L.A.” got the crowd fist-pumping, the scrappy power of his band eventually blew him offstage. Argos let his most poignant moments go flat by seeming unsure if his most poignant lyric, “Why don’t our parents worry about us?” is a rallying cry or the punch line to a joke. “Stand Down,” mysteriously, was off their playlist. That song’s declarative chorus would have given Argos’ stage presence some much-needed bite. Without any real antics or substance, his chatty vocals about being fifteen (“Emily Kane”) and not “getting it up” (“Rusted Guns of Milan”), were drowned out by the sweet roar of a surprisingly good band.
We Are Scientists took the “headlining spot.” While guitarist/singer Keith Murray is a blistering guitarist, bassist Chris Cain wrestled with his instrument, lacking the finesse that ignites a live trio. The band rushed through their album, practically note-for-note, without a trace of the improvisation that makes live music fun. In the end though, the deck was stacked in their favor. Every one of their catchy songs played like a hit single, and they had little problem moving the crowd with songs like “It’s a Hit”, “Great Escape” and “Nobody Move, Nobody Get Hurt.”
Still, the co-headliners were lacking something. Something that was refreshingly present in opening act Spinto Band‘s set — joie de rock. They were perfectly content to look like a touring band — groggy, disheveled and sweaty. They instrument-swapped purposefully, and their lead singer/guitarist shimmied like a young David Byrne and Flashdanced like Jennifer Beals. As a six-piece with three guitars and keyboards, their sound was muddy. Had the PA sound been better, there would have been no doubt that their 60’s style quirk-pop was best in show.