Review: Titus Andronicus at The Bodega


Titus’ noisy, layered punk songs had The Bodega riotous this Monday night. At the start of the set, Titus Andronicus' frontman Patrick Stickles told everyone to be nice.

“We want everyone to be able to enjoy themselves this evening,” he said.

This seemed pre-emptive and a little patronising, but in fact it turned out to be a fully valid way of starting a gig. Because Titus Andronicus make thumping, melodic exorcisms of songs, the mosh pit in front of the stage quickly became rowdy in reaction – whether it was the music or their plastic cups of beer they couldn’t handle, they were falling over and trying to get on the stage and generally getting a bit out of hand.

“What are you doing?” Patrick asked at one point, as a man in a blue shirt jumped, arms outstretched, to just in front of where the microphone stand was.

With four guitars playing simultaneously, lyrics delivered with unadulterated feeling, and a keyboard that elevated certain songs with its Springsteen-sounding riffs, Titus Andronicus created a set that was dense with sound. The energy the band brought to their performance was unflagging, especially considering the minimal pauses they took for Patrick Stickles to speak to the audience. They gave the impression of a band that knows each song intimately; they made what must have taken a whole lot of effort into something that seemed effortless.

Titus have previously been compared to Neutral Milk Hotel, and there is definitely something similar in the layers of instruments, with the vocals becoming almost an instrument in themselves. Another comparison that resounds is the similarity between Titus and fellow New Jersey band The Front Bottoms. While The Front Bottoms’ folk punk is a little lighter than Titus’ fare, there’s a common element of suburban angst and grinding guitars that is undeniable.

The closeness of the audience to the band in The Bodega worked well for Titus Andronicus’ type of music, adding to the homemade appeal good punk music has. And despite all the rowdiness, everyone seemed to have a good time. On the way out, the guy behind me on the stairs summed it up in a perfect tribute to Patrick Stickles.

“He makes you happy, doesn’t he?”

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Edited by Georgina Varley

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