Art Brut : Camden Barfly, Friday November 26

Art Brut : Camden Barfly, Friday November 26

Eddie Argos and co prove modern art isn't rubbish as they swap guitars for paintbrushes…

A night in the company of Art Brut is never anything less than eventful. Tonight at the launch of new single ‘Modern Art’, the louche Eddie Argos and his New Cross accomplices are busy extending their franchise: Art Brut 17 are at the bar, Art Brut 4 are scuttling around the Barfly throwing fluorescent pink paint about, and Art Brut 69 are threatening to push Eddie off the stage, grab his microphone and sing all the songs in a speed metal style. Presumably overcome by the emotion of all this, Art Brut 138 are hiding in the corner.

Downstairs there’s an art attack of epic proportions as everyone mucks in designing the single covers – 700 of the buggers are crafted tonight. Surprisingly, only one boasts the classic schoolboy desk scrawl of the spurting cock. “And only one says ‘Eddie Argos is a cunt’ as well,” brags Argos, “which I’m quite happy about.” Rumours that Kelly Osbourne, who is milling around sloshed on snakebite, crafted the cover in question are unfounded.

Upstairs, the night’s compères, Bidgie Reef And The Gas – who feature none other than Roger Winslet, the fragrant Kate’s father – glide onstage to direct proceedings. It’s a wonder Kate turned out relatively normal when you consider the dinner-suited man she calls dad – he looks like Pete Waterman, sounds like Ian Dury and sings rude lounge songs about umbrellas.

Starting to play almost two hours late, Eddie Argos swaggers across the stage in the way only a man named after a catalogue shop can. His suave gait is matched in the cool stakes only by the song title of ‘These Animal Menswear’ and the way that the crowd chuck confetti and paint at each other during ‘Modern Art’, one of the only songs ever written about David Hockney to provoke a stage invasion.

The beyond-the-bargain-bin Beach Boys harmonies of ‘Moving To LA’ are a highlight among a set littered with songs that are classics but just don’t know it yet. There’s just one problem – Eddie’s plans to “get myself deported”. Don’t you dare go anywhere, Art Brut: your country needs you.

Leonie Cooper