[photos by acidjack]
The New Jersey punk band Titus Andronicus is definitive proof that intelligent music and pure punk abandon need not be mutually exclusive. Much like their contemporaries in Fucked Up, Titus haven’t left any of their genre’s guideposts behind; their sound is relentless, unsubtle and brash and their shows (other than this one) rarely lack for mosh pit chaos and stage diving antics. But Titus isn’t content to be only that. Their second album, The Monitor, by the end of its thrilling opening number “A More Perfect Union”, cemented the notion that the New Jersey band intended to at least partially claim the mantle of their home state’s singular musical hero, Bruce Springsteen; it was a denser, more fully realized follow-up to their promising debut, and one that gained notice well outside of punk circles. Titus have been called a thinking person’s punk band, and that’s more than fair; they have proven that records filled with literary and historical allusions can still get kids to the pit. Further, not many punk bands play 90 minute sets that include seven- and eight-minute songs; Titus does that all the time. No wonder that Yo La Tengo picked Titus, along with Real Estate, to represent the guard of New Jersey rock among their opening act picks for this year’s Hanukkah shows.
The YLT crowd may have been more subdued than the ones that last saw Titus play at Maxwell’s (including at the closing of the Monitor tour in 2010), but the band spared nothing as they tore through songs from their newly released LP, Local Business along with classics from their last two. Local Business was primarily recorded live, with fewer studio flourishes than past efforts, and that made that album’s songs like “In A Big City” shine in particular. Other than the melodic intro to “No Future Part III: Escape From No Future”, the band never put the brakes on, and that was as it should be. The stage diving may have been non-existent, but the appreciation, and the energy, were very much alive in the room. One of New Jersey’s, if not the nation’s best punk bands deserved nothing less.
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Hoboken, NJ USA
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02 In A Big City
03 Upon Viewing Oregon’s Landscape With The Flood of Detritus
04 Upon Viewing Bruegel’s “Landscape With the Fall of Icarus”
05 Richard III
06 No Future Part III: Escape From No Future
07 Ecce Homo
08 Still Life With Hot Deuce and Silver Platter
09 A More Perfect Union
10 Roadrunner [Jonathan Richman and the Modern Lovers]