Good Weekend

The Spinto Band / Art Brut / We Are Scientists
Club Downunder, Tallahassee, FL
September 22nd, 2006

British bands don't come to Florida, and when they do, they certainly don't come to Tallahassee. In the last three years, I can remember Arab Strap, Four Tet, Mogwai, and Andy Rourke from the Smiths. Even Elton John cancelled a show at the Civic Center. So you can imagine my excitement about Art Brut making the trek over. Apparently, lots of other people had the same excitement, because when The Spinto Band took their twelve-legged rock and roll machine to the stage, the house was nicely packed. Their set was good fun, solid indie and well enjoyed. To be honest, I was kind of preoccupied catching up with friends whom I hadn't seen since the spring, so I didn't give them the attention that they deserved. So I missed their between-songs anecdote about some bad stuff that happened to them in North London, the memory of which was triggered by my NORF LONDON t-shirt that they'd seen earlier in the night. Heard the story later from their guitarist Jon, who forgave my t-shirt shaped indiscretion.

Next up were the band for whom I'd made the trip. Straight into 'Back in Black', a fine choice of intro, before morphing into 'Formed A Band'. Jasper and Ian were a mess of hair, Converse and Shakira. Eddie Argos, meanwhile, had just chipped a tooth the previous day, and the significant pain was offset by a lot of alcohol. They played almost all of 'Bang Bang Rock N Roll', plus a couple of new ones, and 'These Animal Menswe@r'. There were a lot of blank faces in the crowd, although a lot of people were digging it. 'Bad Weekend' was introduced as a blues song. 'Emily Kane' featured a whole status report vis a vis Emily's getting back in touch with Eddie. During 'Moving To L.A.', everyone pointed at L.A. Great energy and great songs. The live Brut is beefier than the recorded Brut and twice as fun. Go and see them, already.

The headliners, We Are Scientists, had been to Club Downunder before, but in the ensuing eleven months, they've become really quite popular. Especially in the UK. But their return to Tallahassee was a sellout, and the expectations were high for their show. It's a shame, then, that they weren't very good at all. Don't get me wrong, I like them a lot. But on Friday, WAS were dirgy, flat, lethargic and just plain unimpressive. The songs were played really slowly, it felt, and whilst you can't criticise them for playing new songs, there seemed like way too many of those. The crowd seemed to respond - by the time set-closer and highlight 'The Great Escape' was played, augmented by Art Brut, the floor was maybe 70% full, in what had been a packed house. And I think a lot of people were turned off by Keith and Chris' initially-funny-but-eventually-quite-grating stage patter. Here's a picture of when Chris went upstairs to check out the view. In the middle of a song.

Incidentally, about an hour after the end of the gig, I found myself in the back seat of a car, between Eddie Argos and Michael Tapper (drummer for WAS), going to a house party, talking about kegstands. Eddie said that he doesn't do them anymore, ever since his mum found this video on YouTube.

All in all - go for the science, stay for the art.


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