I thought I'd be the only Titus Andronicus fan at this show, but was pleasantly surprised when a friend showed up who was just as eager to see them. The crowd was intimate, but lively.
Free Energy started the show with their Beach Boys meets Jimmy Eat World-esque pop hooks and positive feel, perfect for the soundtrack of a 16-year-old girl's summer. Even if I wasn't a sucker for little boys in tight pants, I'd still appreciate their vibrance and upbeat guitars. With a little bit rock and roll and a little bit boy band, the guys of Free Energy are making hearts melt all over the country.
Well placed cowbell and heavy bass give their songs a 70's rock vibe, sometimes reminiscent of Thin Lizzy, but are just as easily bubblegum, sugary overload pop songs that magnified at the show. It's a microscopic line between just enough and too much, and these guys straddle the fence like no one has ever straddled before. At times they might have been a little bit too in your face with their stage presence. Lots of jumping around and hand clappy dancing from the band wasn't making me want to do the same, but rather just sit down until Titus Andronicus started.
Not to say that they didn't put on a good show, because they did. It was just getting into Metro Station's realm of too much sparkle and shine by the end of their set. While I was sitting down with a friend, we noticed Titus Andronicus' Patrick Sickles singing along near the merch table and was later spotted up on stage with the boys of Free Energy, singing along with the chorus of "Bang Pop," getting us excited for Titus and back on our feet for the last song.
As soon as Titus Andronicus hit the stage, the audience turned into a whole different crowd. "Shit yeah, this should be a great time," Patrick half-mumbled into the mic. As the first chord struck, half of the people at Kilby Court were already up in front ready to shake their bums and sing and shout along with the band.
Made up of five multi-talented musicians from New Jersey, Titus Andronicus takes their cues from Neutral Milk Hotel and Minor Threat, sounding somewhat like a harder Defiance, Ohio throughout most of their set, encouraging the audience to dance, and dancing themselves. They all were wearing infectious smiles on their faces, magnifying the excitement in their sound, as well as with the crowd. They kept the energy going until Sickles almost sounded as if he were apologizing for the next "sensitive singer/songwriter type stuff" song, "No Future Part Three: Escape From No Future," "Everything makes me nervous/and nothing feels good for no reason," he sang sadly into the mic, but headed right back into their usual pirate-rock-n-roll after about a minute and a half, at the end of the song repeats "You will always be a loser, you will always be a loser..." but ended it jovially with "and that's OKAY!" Singer/Songwriter, indeed.
There were a few teeny-tiny irritants in their set, mainly just a VERY drunk girl getting up on the little makeshift stage on several occasions and making the show-goers amused and a little uncomfortable with her lewd gestures and weird demeanor, giving me the international sign of "I want to lick your downstairs," (ICK!)but the boys (and girl!) of Titus Andronicus took her in stride, noting graciously that there were far more people there that night than there were the last time they came through, which didn't surprise me that much.
Their fan base was bigger than I thought, but not by a lot. By the end of the show I was ready to go home and sip on some whiskey (the only downside to Kilby), but not nearly ready for them to get off stage.