Titus 4

Titus Andronicus are criminally underrated. The Glen Rock, NJ group make music that is loud, aggressive, and full of energy, with lyrics that are filled with existential undertones and introspective musings. What’s not to love? It also doesn’t hurt that they put on one hell of a live show. They proved it when they returned to Austin for the third time in 2009 to play the Mohawk.

Austin’s The Golden Boys and Brooklyn’s The So So Glos started the night off with solid sets. The So So Glos in particular displayed a great amount of enthusiasm, urging the crowd to get into the music and to just have a good time. They were a lot of fun to listen to, and they were also very open to talking with show goers after their set. They definitely warrant a listen.

By the time Titus Andronicus was set to come on, the inside stage room at the Mohawk was pretty well packed. The show had moved from the outside stage to the smaller inside stage, but that didn’t dampen the crowds excitement. If anything, the smaller stage gave the show a more intimate feel, as if the few hundred people inside were being treated to an exclusive session by the band.

When Titus Andronicus came on, lead singer Patrick Stickles announced to the crowd that “It’s just been one of those days.” He explained that their van had broken down on Highway 290, 20 minutes outside of Austin, and that they were unsure whether or not it was fixable. He explained the possibility that they might have to cancel a good number of shows on the tour because it. “I know we are here to provide a service to you because of whole band-audience dynamic, but tonight, we are asking that you provide a service to us by showing your enthusiasm,” Stickles said before they started. I was more than happy to oblige.

There was no denying that the pent up frustration from the day’s events showed up in the way that the band performed. However, because Titus Andronicus makes music that thrives on that kind of aggression, it was by no means a bad thing. They ripped through their set, performing almost every song from their astonishing debut “The Airing of Grievances,” with a sense of urgency and an insane amount of energy. Songs like “Titus Andronicus” and “Upon Viewing Brueghel’s ‘Landscape with the Fall of Icarus” were played with reckless abandon, and it was evident that the band posseses an immense amount of talent.

The group’s delivery is a big part of the reason why they have distinguished themselves from many of their contemporaries. They are a very concious band musically, with many subtleties underlining their full on assault. Stickles, guitarist Peter Feigenbaum, bassist Ian Graetzer, and drummer Eric Harm sound very comfortable with each other, and use their skills to complement each other’s strengths on every song they perform. All of this was evident through the entirety of their Mohawk set, all the way until their final song, “No Future Part I.”

Despite everything that had gone wrong for the band during the day, they were able to channel that energy into a live show that was not only memorable, but proof why the band is truly unique, and one that demands to be taken seriously.

The Golden Boys:

Golden Boys

The So So Glos:

So So Glos

Titus Andronicus:

Titus 1

Titus 3

Titus 2