Photo by Kyle Dean Reinford
You don’t go see a Titus Andronicus show, you experience it. You sweat, you pump fists, you yell along more than you sing. It’s something you feel in your bones and deep in your guts. The New Jersey outfit can be called a “punk” group, but it doesn’t quite do them justice. Their angsty anthems (and they are most definitely anthems) call to mind the epics of Jersey forebears like The Boss, and they to that fragile kid inside everyone of us. They came out of the gate in 2008 with the Seinfeldian-titled Airing of Grievances, a record that includes lofty song titles like “Upon Viewing Brueghel’s ‘Landscape with the Fall of Icarus.'” They reached back to the 19th century for melodies and aesthetics on their 2010 epic sophomore record The Monitor, a sort of concept record that uses Civil War themes (and some very, very fine musical pyrotechnics) as a backdrop to teenage struggles. Their third album Local Business hit stores in October 2012, and it found the band in a darker mood. They tuned up their punkier and metal side and toned down some of the grandeur of The Monitor, but it’s no less ambitious. Once the last note decays on Local Business, you feel like you know the band, especially frontman Patrick Stickles, all the better. That’s not surprising from a band like Titus Andronicus. Whether it’s live or on wax, they never fail to make you feel like you’ve lived the music.