Titus Andronicus at Brighton Music Hall, 10.15.15

By Cody Kenner

Titus Andronicus may best be described as punk rock for losers. Thursday night’s crowd—a massive gang of gangly young men in college slacker attire—perfectly incarnated this apt description. But if any band could transform beta male losers into moshing, lyric-screaming champions, it’s Titus Andronicus.

The start of their performance, however, began humbly, with frontman Patrick Stickles waxing poetic comments on the nonviolence of punk rock and wittily commenting on Brighton Music Hall’s “No Moshing” sign. After Stickles wrapped up his rambling, he began with a pared down piano and strings rendition of their characteristically wordy “Upon Viewing Oregon’s Landscape With the Flood of Detritus,” which quickly escalated into full Andronicus righteous rage as the remaining band members joined the stage.

From there on, the concert was a series of riotous and epic ballads in traditional Titus Andronicus form, simultaneous encapsulating punk rock angst and college nerd sensibilities. Though the lyrics were heavy, dealing with issues ranging from loneliness (“Lonely Boy”) to eating disorders (“My Eating Disorder”), the crowd was always upbeat and pressing at the barriers, their firsts in the air as they shouted out “You will always be a loser!” Stickles gestured manically along with his lyrics, lead guitarist Jonah Maurer flamboyantly displayed his playing prowess at the front of the stage, and at one point the Maurer and second guitarist Adam Reich even formed a can-can line as they strummed along happily. That was the spirit of the concert—a defiant, upbeat resolve to confront and conquer the ailments of the human condition. It was group therapy for weird, awkward punk kids.

Finally, after the many soaring fake-out endings and gratuitous solos of “To Old Friends And New,” the concert came to a close.  Stickles placed his feedback-looping guitar on the stage floor and shouted into the mic, “Goodnight everyone!”

Still, the crowd clamored for more. It was clear that Titus Andronicus had thought their end to the show a fitting conclusion, but the fans were adamant that they hear one last anthem from their heroes. Stickles and company relented, and they concluded the night with a Boston-appropriate rendition of The Modern Lovers’ classic, “Roadrunner.” Patrick Stickles took off his shirt, humped the amps, and dropped the mic, and the rabble-rousing was finally over. Even after the show had ended, however, one couldn’t help but feel transformed into something greater by the bastard child battle cries of Titus Andronicus.

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