Show Review: Titus Andronicus @ Emos (9/1)
Local band Whitman had the opportunity many fought for, opening up for Jersey’s Titus Andronicus outside Emos on Wednesday night. Another Austin band, Yellow Fever, filled up the middle slot, giving us all a mixed taste on the warm evening.
Whitman took to the stage fueled by the energy of singer/guitarist Ram Vela. He jumped about the stage, flinging his guitar about as the band blasted through their new song “Teenage Daydreams.” The new song differed in its approach to their previous efforts, and the song was one of the best we’ve come to see from these guys. It’s clear that Ram’s voice has improved over time, as have his writing skills, slinging together clever rhymes with care. Despite Ram’s energy, some members didn’t seem willing participants in the live show, which was truly sad, as this was a great moment, with a great response from the crowd. Towards the end, keyboardist, Kyle, stepped out to add a much needed energy boost to the live viewing, and bringing a second guitar to the fold to add the extra punch. Their new songs sounded great, and we can be sure there will be more in the future from our friends.
When Yellow Fever took to the stage, it seemed kind of an odd billing. Their collage of loops, drums and guitars didn’t quite the same punch as the opening act, nor the closing act. All that aside, I actually quite enjoyed their set. It reminded me a great deal of the early works of Fiery Furnaces, using strange loops and odd electronics to give more depth to the two-person delivery. One thing is for sure, that Jennifer Moore can play, using more of her guitar than most people would, and doing so with grace. Honestly, their set would have been really intriguing in a different setting, and I know people seemed disinterested, but they had a lot of great tracks to offer up people.
Everyone in attendance was sweating in anticipation of Titus Andronicus, which makes reviewing a show such as this quite difficult, as you never want to tread on toes. I’ll start with an opening statement here that will probably alienate lots of TA fans, but will really help those who aren’t in the know understand what the whole show was about. You take a couple of parts Against Me! choruses, two tablespoons of Desaparecidos and a dash of pirates, then you have the band in the live setting. This is not a knock on the band by any means, in fact, I love those three ingredients dearly, its just that as the band has grown, this has become far more apparent to me.
One particular instant comes to mind, well, two, but I’ll pick one. During “No Future Part Three” a young kid from the crowd jumped on stage to shout “you will always be a loser.” Such things happen at old punk shows,l with great choruses, and great closing lines. As the kid screamed on, the crowd shook their fists in the air, much as they did the entire night. These are all good things, despite the fact that the vocals of my screaming neighbor often overshadowed Patrick Stickles. But, who can complain when everyone is having so much fun rocking out to their favorite band.
Surely everyone in attendance will come to an agreement that the group puts on a dazzling show, fueled by dueling guitar lines, and Patrick’s guitar solos. Guitarist Amy wore a smile for the duration of the evening, even as the band slowed down the middle of their set to provide a much needed breather. Playing hits from The Monitor and The Airing of Grievances provided super fans a chance to get their fill of the hits, and new fans a chance to indulge in the strong history of the band, who while only having two albums, have plenty of great songs to offer up to the masses. In the end, it was a night worthy of praise for all bands, especially Titus Andronicus and Whitman, who showed a lot of growth since the last time I caught their live acts.