This week, Jennifer gets excited about some punk fuckin’ rawk.
The best way I can explain The Monitor, the new(ish) record from Titus Andronicus , is to say that it is like two photographs, one from the 21st century and one from the 19th, carefully overlaid so that their elements blend and the eye is left with the challenge of determining what is now, what was then, and what is both, eternally suspended on the thin webbing of successful illusion. Internet, I have listened to this record a lot. I was really, really excited to finally be able to see them live.
Patrick Stickles (l) and Ian Graetzer (r)
Following opening acts Screaming Females (solid punk band; their singer can also really shred) and Free Energy (pop punk so awesome they get their own post next week), Titus Andronicus kicked off the show last Saturday night at Webster Hall with A More Perfect Union, a song which references, among other things, the Newark Bears, the Garden State Parkway, Born to Run as well as both the Battle Cry of Freedom and the Battle Hymn of the Republic. The recorded lyrics include the phrase tramps like us, baby we were born to die, but Patrick Stickles sang born to run instead, infusing (and transforming) the line with howling punk rock defiance. Naturally the pit went crazy. And it only got better from there.
Amy Klein, playing her violin while wearing her guitar
One of highlights of the show came during The Battle of Hampton Roads. The song is 14 minutes long and they played all of it. The middle section is instrumental, a fusion of fuzzy guitars, parade drums and what I thought were bagpipes on the record but live turned out to be keyboard effects. It sounds like a column of weary Union soldier walking home on a dirt road in the rain. It is the kind of thing that just begs for a drum line. And so the barrier provided one: we stretched out our hands, all of us, all the way down as far as I could see, and pounded on the stage. Meanwhile, the floor was vibrating from the pogoing feet of the pit behind us.
l to r: Patrick Stickles, David Robbins, Eric Harm, and Ian Graetzer
In conclusion: that was awesome, and I can’t wait to see them again when they open for the Felice Brothers in Poughkeepsie in October. If you live in the tri-state area and are waffling about going to that show, BUY A TICKET NOW. It’s going to be good.