Thursday, November 22, 2012

Titus Andronicus, Ceremony and JamesPlaneWreck @ Neurolux (11/17/12)

I had a feeling that this show was gonna be huge.  I learned about Titus Andronicus from Robert Christgau's review of their Civil War-themed album The Monitor.  Any band that earns an A-minus or above from the Dean will at least be worth a look, I figured, so I marked this show down on the calendar.

I counted about 40 people when I arrived at Neurolux.  A good start.  The long wait for Ceremony and Titus Andronicus to arrive (their all-ages show at the Crux apparently started late) allowed for a pretty substantial crowd to build.

First up was local band JamesPlaneWreck.  Apparently, no one told them that they were just the opening act: they blazed through their set with the confidence, intensity and focus of a headliner.  Andrew Bagley's high-octane drumming and Shaun Shireman's streamlined bass made Aaron Smith and Shane Brown's grinding riffs soar.  Aaron Smith's friendly growl led the formation.  Thunderous, tuneful, superb.

After about an hour (I think), Ceremony played next.  Their pounding rhythms, rubbery basslines, monolithic riffs and shouted vocals had a distinctly old-school UK punk feel.  No problem with that--my favorite band's the Clash, after all.  Of course, it helped that their slow-burners and their rave-ups proved equally catchy.  In any case, it would've been worth seeing this group just for the chance to see people moshing in Neurolux (nothing really severe, but still...).

Titus Andronicus closed out the night.  I thought about complimenting their massive guitar sound, but with three guitars, the sound damn well shoulda been massive (they did pop off some badass solos, though).  Anyway, much more impressive was the way that their simple, rousing tunes sustained interest even at epic lengths.  It helped that they had a built-for-speed rhythm section to ram them home.  The intelligent lyrics helped too (I must confess here, though, that my favorite song was the goofy, dunderheaded "(I Am The) Electric Man").

Given their late starting time and the tendency of their songs to cross the five- or six-minute mark, I worried at first that they'd only play two or three numbers and then split. Thankfully, they managed to play a fifty-minute set in spite of Neurolux's live music curfew.  Also, while they probably could've gotten by on their music alone, these scrawny, geeky-looking dudes put an amazing amount of energy into their performance (especially considering that they'd come right over from playing another gig).  The audience responded in kind: they cheered, danced, clapped to the beat, collided with each other, crowd-surfed and stage-dived right up to the end.  That was all great, but I gotta admit that it was kinda odd hearing everyone chant, "You'll always be a loser." 

You can find info on these groups on Facebook and elsewhere online.  Special thanks to Eric Gilbert and Duck Club Presents.

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