all words: Andy Hess
all photos: Mark Silva from before
Let’s get this out of the way: I really enjoy Eddie Argos.
There are few people in music that are both hilarious and as brutally honest. Normally known for his confessionals set to blistering guitars found in Art Brut‘s music, his new project is something that moves in a completely different direction.
Everybody Was In the French Resistance…Now! (EWITFRN! from here on out) finds itself losing the Rock and sides with a more minimalist approach of keys, samples and the speak up for the voiceless characters in popular music. Enter Fixin’ the Charts, Vol. 1. Argos and his girlfriend Dyan Valdés from The Blood Arm have written 12 songs or response tracks rather with a different perspective from the original.
Fixin’ the Charts, Vol. 1 was hit or miss throughout, but these songs are meant to be experienced live. Not necessarily for the musical value (which was just fine), but also to hear Argos rant and rave. The man has a gift for stage banter that actually adds to the show.
There’s a theatrical quality to their music as well. Instead of Argos singing these songs, he takes on the characters tendencies and attitudes. Songs like “Hey! It’s Jimmy Mack” — a response to Martha Reeves’ “Jimmy Mack” — or “Billy’s Genes” — a response Michael Jackson’s to “Billy Jean” — take on a life of their own as Argos moves from character to character.
After a imaginary encore, Argos with Valdés and guitarist Ian Catskilkin from Art Brut finished their set with the best song on Fixin’ the Charts, Vol. 1 “G.I.R.L.F.R.E.N. (You Know I’ve Got A)” — a nod to both Jonathan Richman and Avril Lavigne’s last hit — along with a cover of the Rubinoos song “I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend“.
The Grates were one of the better openers I’ve seen all year. Hailing from Australia, the band quartet blasted through their 40 minute set like a wound-up toy.
Singer Patience Hodgson bounced across the stage and into the audience a few times to dance with various people. The songs are a perfect blend of pop music with plenty of oomph to turn something bland into something highly addictive. I’ll also be the first one in line to see them when they come back to town.