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all words: Josh Stewart
all photos: Mindy Barrett

Alright Black Cat… show is sold out… there are Tornado warnings and impending thunderstorms.  Let’s do this!

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Double Dagger, reminded me of the cool kind of comic book nerd.  The kid that read graphic novels, but ya know also skateboards… so it’s cool.  Their brand of apathetic, simplistic nerd punk was right on the money and though not my thing, the three piece had the energy of a band double in size.  Check out more from the band here.

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Titus Andronicus represents a lot of different things.  The band’s influences span from Americana like Springsteen (duh they are from New Jersey) to Boston punk a la the Dropkick Murphy’s to the lyrical sensibilities of Billy Bragg.

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Since the band is named after one of Shakespeare’s most visceral and violent plays I had very high hopes for their live show.

And thus the bro down began.  Fists pumping.  Moderate to light crowd-surfing.  Which, evidentially is not allowed at the Black Cat which is… ya know… very UNCHILL.  I witnessed multiple bros ranging from bearded… to teen… to yuppie…  quickly escorted out the back for crowd surfing.  No need to raise pitchforks against the venue, but I did want to point out that this behavior as both odd and again… very UNCHILL.

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Maybe I am out of the loop when it comes to crowd-surfing laws.  Moving on…

The show hit the high water mark during the track “A More Perfect Union”.  Bass is moving at a steady eighth note pace… a reference to Fenway… a reference to Newark… this gem  “I never wanted to change the world, but I am looking for a new New Jersey , cause tramps like us baby we were born to die.”

Everyone break for a serious rock out.  Wave the American flag and chug your Budweiser ™ !  Guitars… three of em…  start/stop with tempo change… yes please.

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Rest time.  Equipment breaks.  We get a 10 minute lesson from Titus on how electricity travels through wires.

The band had a seamless live show.  Lyrics balanced evenly on teen/suburban angst and political/social commentary.  In an era, where bands are riding chillwaves and ruining beach rock forever (miss you Jan and Dean), Titus Andronicus is a dose of real, raucous, American rock and roll.  I definitely understand why this band is important to a lot of people.

Catch Titus on June 2 at the 9:30 club with Okkervil River and Future Islands.

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