On a disappointing night that saw the Blazers exit the playoffs after an emotional six-game series, Eddie Argos
' new group brought some comic relief to Mississippi Studios.
More like story time with Eddie than a full-fledged concert, the Art Brut frontman brought his three piece satire group to a small north Portland audience. Crowd members in the balcony giggled from desks while a couple dozen in the pit took pictures of Eddie as he wandered on and off stage.
Everybody Was in the French Resistance...Now!
is a counter-pop act that looks mainstream songs right in the eye. Eddie's thick British accent gives his material a literal feel, but because he's singing about things like Avril Lavigne taking men from perfectly loving relationships or Kanye West offending the common man, it's all the funnier.
“You all know 'Billy Jean' by Michael Jackson,” Argos said before a signature witty segue into another track. “It's about a man who gets a girl pregnant and then denies paternity.” He then loosened his tie a bit before saying “Well this song is written from the child's perspective, Michael Jackson is my father.”
Argos went on explain that Janet Jackson presented him with a choice: Play a small club in Portland or make millions of dollars on the MJ-inspired track.
He chose the former, something he admits he may have gotten wrong as he looks at the roughly 30 crowd members. It was the only sobering second of the evening, but a blink later his band—made up of girlfriend/keyboardist Dylan Valdes and a rhythm guitar player—is making fun of someone else via catchy, piano parlor themed pop.
Musically, every song sounds a bit like “Monster Mash.” Some contemporary flare is pumped in by Valdes' handy iPod, which sat just below her two keyboards during the set. The recorded samples did most of the work, but her simple syncopated melodies prettied things up. Valdes' lyrical conversations with Argos during many of the songs hammered the point home that while EWITFRN! sounds appealing, it's the conversational and often hilarious subject-matter that keeps the group afloat. Imagine a musical version of The Daily Show
The nature of his show would be better suited for the classroom. The crowd wasn't sure whether to dance or stay put. In a different environment, the dryness of Argos' lyrics wouldn't sail over so many heads. His band would be better embraced.
But it was a night already made difficult by the merciless gods of Basketball, and Argos had some down faces to deal with. To his credit, his band entertained, and after a response song to Frank Sinatra's famous “My Way,” Argos received the ovation I imagined he would get
. There's no shortage of good, punishable material in mainstream music, and EWITFRN! knows this.
Everbody Was in the French Resistance...NowSpace
Photo by Mark Stock