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Indie rock bands throw a `Good Weekend' party

Art Brut and We Are Scientists' edgy punk energy matches the rowdy spirit of the crowd at the Fonda.

October 02, 2006|Margaret Wappler | Special to The Times

Before closing Art Brut's raucous, freewheeling set Saturday night at the Henry Fonda Theater, singer Eddie Argos tossed off a description of the song "Good Weekend" that could've applied to any of the blazing numbers that preceded it: "It's a love song, a dancing song, a drinking song! It's a love-dance-drinking song."

Art Brut, consisting of five South Londoners united behind an escapist punk energy, lives for the simple pleasures of love-dance-drink, best practiced with, as the band calls it on its acclaimed debut album, the battle cry of "Bang Bang Rock & Roll."

Stoking the audience's rowdy spirit, Argos, insouciantly witty with his wriggling eyebrows and put-upon exhaustion, played many roles during the night, including cracked punk preacher and lager-soaked therapist. As a footnote to "Fight!," Argos implored members of the audience to form their own bands, or "at least a script, Los Angeles." Introducing "Emily Kane," Argos' ode to an elementary-school love, he beseeched those in the crowd to stop thinking of their exes. The band, with its stabbing guitars, saucy bass and thundering drums, gave Argos plenty of room to romp while still retaining urgency.

We Are Scientists, which has been alternating closing duties with co-headliner Art Brut, concluded the show with a pressurized set of glossy New Wave-punctuated indie rock. The trio created an impressively thick, edgy sound, which escalated in tension with snot-nosed lyrics such as "Understanding is the last thing I want."

Though bassist Chris Cain and vocalist-guitarist Keith Murray adhere to nerd-chic fashions, WAS' songs show the New York-based act has a steamier side. "Nobody Move, Nobody Get Hurt," from WAS' "With Love and Squalor," flaunts a bruised, devil-may-care attitude. Murray's ripped voice clung to the chorus like wet lingerie: "My body is your body.... If you want to use my body, go for it."

Opening act the Spinto Band assisted on one of WAS' finest moments: a smart cover of Art Brut's "Bang Bang Rock & Roll." It was the night's first real party, not just in concept but in action, as four Spintos shared one microphone and Cain and Murray paced the stage.

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