Monday, April 19, 2010

Titus Andronicus, Spider Bags, The Dry Heathens leave ears ringing at Local 506

As evidenced by the throngs of fans packing Local 506 to the gills, concerns about Monday morning responsibilities are few when the mighty Titus Andronicus is in town. The New Jersey rockers were supported by Durham’s Dry Heathens and Carrboro-based Spider Bags for one of the best — and loudest – lineups of the year.

The Dry Heathens burned through 10 songs in just under 30 minutes. Guitarist Steve Oliva’s energy was over-the-top and his red-laced Converse seemed to never stop moving. Just as it felt like they were settling in, Dry Heathens closed with the righteous “Splendid Little War,” leaving the crowd ready for more.

The sheer volume of Spider Bags was something to marvel at and eardrums are certainly paying the price this morning. Layers upon layers of fuzz made hearing Dan McGee’s vocals and recognizing songs extremely difficult. Patrick Stickles, frontman for Titus Andronicus, joined the group on bass during their final song and at its conclusion McGee’s introduced Titus Andronicus as “the world’s greatest band,” a label they made a strong argument for shortly after.

While Dry Heathens was fast and Spider Bags was loud, Titus Andronicus was both. To begin, the band commandingly ripped into “A More Perfect Union,” sending the crowd into a frenzy. The small stage couldn’t contain the band’s energy and it was gushing into the audience. With every building repetition of lyrics like “You’ll always be a loser” or “The enemy is everywhere,” the crowd grew more raucous, jumping and shoving.

Stickles is a most compelling front man. It was hard to focus on anyone else. He’s less physically imposing (well, except for the beard) than I imagined. In reality, he's a skinnier-than-average guy with pants slightly too short and plain Nike cross trainers who’s quick to humbly brush off compliments from the crowd. When he hoists his big guitar and steps up to the mic, however, things change. He squeezes his eyes shut and rises up on his tip-toes when sings. You can see the pressure building within him until he explodes during a solo or a breakdown, ambling across the stage.

McGee joined in on a verse of “Theme From ‘Cheers’” and afterwards Stickles announced that the band only had two songs left. A mix of cheers and boos came from the crowd.

“They’re going to take a half-hour to play,” he said. The crowd roared, but there was some laughter at the tail end signaling many thought he was half-joking.

He wasn’t.

Titus Andronicus turned the already hefty “Titus Andronicus Forever” and “Four Score and Seven” in 15-minute epics that decimated the band and crowd, both of whom were too exhausted for an encore afterwards.

Titus Andronicus will continue to tour the eastern United States with Spider Bags before launching the international portion of their tour. Spider Bags will be back in the Triangle on May 8 for a show at the Nightlight with The Moaners

Titus Andronicus set list
A More Perfect Union
A Pot in Which to Piss
The Battle of Hampton Roads
Fear and Loathing in Mahwah
No Future Part Three: Escape from No Future
Theme from "Cheers"
Titus Andronicus Forever
Four Score and Seven


Nico said...

If I'm not mistkaen, the cover that the female member of Titus Andronicus sang was 'Rebel Girl' by Bikini Kill.

hlewis said...

The second to last song was "The Battle of Hampton Roads", and I think the second song was "Joset of Nazareth's Blues" -- the one that begins with the harmonica lifted from "Promised Land." Phenomenal show by all 3 bands.