Patrick Stickles should be a very happy man today. Last night’s Bowery Ballroom show is proof that sometimes good things happen to people who deserve them. Playing to a sold out house, Titus Andronicus was in the best form I’d seen them in over a year. Minus a few too-bro-y-for-me guitar players, plus a new guitarist/violinist and plus a delightfully dorky keyboardist/guitar player (of whom I regretfully did not manage to take any postable photos), the band actually gave off the literary cool feeling that their music evokes for me. Now that Stickles has seemed to gather a stellar band of followers, the music was grand, unstoppable, and fun. Seeing them live, I now fully understand how incredibly appropriate the Civil War is as a loose theme for the band. Epic, senseless, brother against brother, fighting to the death, deadly serious and historical. There’s a certain gravity to that particular war that the band has articulated well. Stickles, clearly a very intelligent guy, seems to care deeply about what he says in his songs. That thoughtfulness matched with the almost-80s grand, soaring guitar solos lend their performance the air of marching into battle, prepared to die for a cause- and gloriously so. Titus Andronicus turns “The Battle Hymn of the Republic” into a modern day anthem, reminding us that we still have to fight the good fight.
Babies were just about the same as always: New York style cool with great riffs and perfectly laid-back vocals. I did not care for Parts & Labor. The threesome had good energy, but all of their songs fell a little short for me. Cloud Nothings played an excellent set, surprisingly confident and tight for a band that’s only played in New York something like two times before. I’ll be seeing them again this week, so I’ll write more about them then. For now, photos, MP3 below, and reveling in the success that this upcoming tour is sure to bring for one of the best bands out there.
Parts & Labor: