Last Wednesday I hit up the Rock 'n Roll Hotel to see Titus Andronicus. I was heading to H Street from another event, so I missed the first openers, True Head. But I was lucky to get there just in time for the start of Ceremony's set. The lead singer was in full Halloween spirit, passing out candy to the crowd, before taking off his shirt and delivering a blistering set of hardcore punk. The highlight for me was the band's cover of "Minor Threat." The was loud and aggressive and sparked the biggest mosh pit that I've seen at the venue.
This was my first time seeing Titus Andronicus, as I was unfortunately out of town the last time they played DC. 2010's The Monitor was an instant favorite for me and I'd heard wonders about their live show, so I was all sorts of pumped for this show. Even though Local Business had only come out a few days prior, the new album was featured prominently in the set, especially at the beginning. The middle was heavy on tracks off The Airing of Grievances, and finally they got to my favorite Monitor tracks at the end. This meant the show finished on a high note, but it took me a while to get into it. I like Local Business so far, but it was a busy week for me so I only got to listen to the album twice before the show. The tracks were slightly less aggressive and more polished than their older material, but tracks like "Food Fight" still spurred a decent mosh pit.
Before launching into "The Battle of Hampton Roads," Patrick Stickles announced that they only had one song left. Instead they launched into a presumably planned encore of "A More Perfect Union" "Titus Andronicus Forever" and "Four Score and Seven" without ever leaving the stage. The combo of those four songs was the clear highlight of the set. The band's cover of "Do You Love Me?" was also fantastic.
I look forward to seeing Titus Andronicus play again, after I have more time to let Local Business settle. The simple, repeated lyrics make for some epic sing-a-longs in their live show.
BYT pictures and review here. Note the Diarrhea Planet t-shirt that the drummer is wearing. A guy in the front row had the same t-shirt. Random.
Last Monday I headed over to the Black Cat backstage to see Laura Stevenson and the Cans. I did this knowing exactly one Laura Stevenson song. But it's a really good song, so I figured I'd take my chances. Not only was she fantastic, the opening band, The Wild, was a revelation. They put on one of the best sets I've seen all year. They were like a bluegrass (banjo!) and Irish (oodles of percussion!) influenced Titus Andronicus. They had two vocalists -- one male and one female -- and a whole lot of punk energy. The recorded work I've found by them thus far fails to capture the epic nature of their live performance, unfortunately. But if you ever see them headed to your town, don't miss it!
Laura Stevenson's live show was also a pleasant surprise in that it was a lot more aggressive and high energy than I expected. She saved "Master of Art" for her last song, but I enjoyed everything that came before it. It was solid power pop and the accordion/trumpet player in the band provided a refreshing layer to the overall sound. Also, fun fact that I learned whilst going to her wikipedia page: her grandfather was the composer of "Do You Hear What I Hear?" and "The Little Drummer Boy." Random.