ART BRUT | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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Countless bands have ripped off the Fall, and countless singers have ripped off Mark E. Smith's distinctive de-liv-e-ry-uh. But it's the rare front man who goes further and latches onto Smith's less obvious traits: humor, spontaneity, and the aura of danger that comes from being unafraid to make an utter ass of yourself. It's just these qualities that make Art Brut great, and so separate the band from the parade of Peel Show and Rough Trade revivalists. On It's a Bit Complicated (Downtown), vocalist Eddie Argos ("singer" isn't really the word) maintains a John Cooper Clarke-style street--philosopher persona balanced carefully between goofiness and wryness, demonstrating the same fine-tuned sense of absurdity that 30 years ago helped a blandly dressed, speed-addled shipping clerk become the spokesman for a generation (if only a generation he invented). But this is where the Fall comparisons end, or at least ought to--come on, you lazy hacks, if anything Art Brut sounds like Thin Lizzy. a 5:30 PM, Hideout Block Party (complete schedule, page 34), South Stage, Hideout, 1354 W. Wabansia, 773-227-4433 or 866-468-3401, $25, $20 in advance, $35 in advance for a two-day pass. A --J. Niimi

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