Thursday, April 08, 2010

Titus Andronicus @ the Bottom Lounge - 4/7/10

Skipped the first opener, and stood around for the Saps, a local Chicago band that reminded me a fair amount of Team Band. I love Team Band, but they're kind of a hard band to emulate without making it really obvious. Maybe it's all coincidence and they there's no influence there, but it sure sounded like it to me.

TA took the stage around 10:45 or so, and played for a good 1:20, with no encores. But man, it was a really rollicking set. There's so much energy and passion in Patrick Stickles' screaming voice that it's hard not to get sucked in. And especially with the new material, with their slow, quiet intros that descend into a maelstrom of noise, they just have a way of sucking you in until you can't help but give in to noise. I'm not usually one for a lot of audience participation, but listen to the first song linked below and, well, if you see them live, try not to sing along with the Ooo Ooo - Na Na Na part at the 2:44 mark (note, this video is cut to only half the song - they cut out a great second half for the radio edit).

For as much energy as they put into their set, I'm a little surprised they played as long as they did. I was also curious to see how they would handle the new material. For those of you unfamiliar, 'The Monitor' is a sort of concept album about a kid who leaves New Jersey for Boston, and ends up returning to New Jersey after not quite finding what he was looking for. The kicker is that it's told through Civil War imagery. It's really quite impressive, but the album itself is a 10 song, 67 minute drama with each song segueing into the next. If you didn't know where the track breaks were, you could probably figure them out, but it would be tough, and you'd probably get some wrong. So the question was whether they could play some of those songs as stand alones, or whether they'd play the album from beginning to end. The played them as stand alones, out of order, mixing in songs from the first album, and it played great in my opinion. The incomplete and out of order setlist (actually, I think this is the right order, since I stole it from this guy - in my own defense, I had all the songs right):
  • A More Perfect Union (opened with this)
  • Joset of Nazareth Blues
  • A Pot in Which to Piss
  • Upon Viewing Breughle's 'Landscape with the Fall of Icarus'
  • Richard II
  • Fear and Loathing in Mawhaw, NJ
  • No Future Part Three: Escape From No Future
  • Titus Andronicus
  • My Time Outside the Womb
  • The Battle of Hampton Roads
  • Titus Andronicus Forever
  • Four Score and Seven
The opener and closer are right, and the middle of that setlist is a rough estimate of where songs fit in. So many of the songs on the new album are of this epic length and structure that they could easily be closers, but Four Score and Seven did the trick nicely (Battle of Hampton Roads, all 14 minutes of it, closes the album).

As for the concert experience, I was just outside the mosh pit, which was a perfect place to stand. I'm well past moshing age, and I was never much of a mosher to begin with. Still, I was close enough to feel like a part of the action. I don't love the Bottom Lounge, but it's growing on me a bit. I still wish they would publish the door time AND the show time so that I'm not tricked into getting there an hour early, but I've learned to work around that. Hopefully these guys get a good slot at Pitchfork, where there's a good crowd that can really get into the atmosphere of the music. Pics and another couple vids below.

Titus Andronicus (song)

Four Score and Seven


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