Titus Andronicus was a welcome pleasure. Not knowing anything about their music was a plus. It is such a great opportunity to hear a group for the first time without any preconceived notions. I like that. Beyond the noise and punk there was an incredible nuance to their sound that rose above the revved-up amplification. It had order and structure with beautiful scales of lead guitars that could be heard above all the noise with wave like variations.
While they sound raw and similar to the punk originators The Sex Pistols they are more musically inclined. They manipulate instruments with the raging sound of distortion, amplified at full tilt. This was witnessed throughout the set as all three guitarists had access to stationed platforms. There were also two keyboards, bass and drums. Some of the songs have a balladry type feel of The Pogues but electrified. They also add beat driven punk sing along chants to the mix.
Patrick Stickles voice was unadorned, real, rough and awesomely off key. I just loved watching him. Lots of drama and strange moments especially when he picked up a cold pizza and took a few bites between verses. Honestly I wasn’t sure what he was going to do with it.
Some fans in the audience thinking they were at an all age show started moshing to the chagrin of the rest of the crowd. The lights went on briefly to look for someone’s glasses. Don’t get me wrong the crowd was completely engaged, including me!
O’death ruled this night. I am always enamored by their ability to work up an audience but headlining at the Bowery Ballroom makes a difference. The sound system is just great and band was just delighted and thrilled to be there.
The audience at an o’death show are just awesome. There is unity and love that generates even among o’death virgins. And there were many. They immediately succumbed to the robust energy of the songs. The dancing is fascinating to watch and to take part in. Because the song structures are so unusual fans could dance a waltz and then instantly break out into an uncontrollable frenzy of jumping, pumping and head banging. The smiles and nods among the crowd acknowledging a shared experience were a highlight for me.
An artifact of the evening was a bra relinquished from an adoring fan that Jesse Newman gladly draped over the microphone. The hour and a half set ended with a chant. David Rogers Berry jumped away from his drum set to the center of the stage, all instruments were abandoned and the band member’s voices rose in unison. Suddenly Bob Pycior dove into the crowd of outstretched arms willingly propping his sweaty body above the throngs of appreciative fans. That night music was experienced as a community, as it should be.
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