This must be the first time I've gone to a gig purely for the support act - and though San Diego hot-tip The Soft Pack were entertaining enough, it was Titus Andronicus that was the main event for me last night. With wall-to-wall framed pictures of past legends looking on expectantly the 5 young punks form New Jersey had a lot to live up to, and they certainly didn't disappoint. Instead they kicked the shit out of that place like it had just been built.
With just one LP under their belt they played like legends themselves carrying a self confidence born purely on the knowledge that any one of the songs off The Airing Of Grievances would tear this place down. The wall of sound that holds up the LP was erected in monolithic form on stage with awesome drumming standing shoulder to shoulder with the muscular 4 pronged guitar attack. Front man Patrick Stickles led this crew looking like a 70's era Scorsese - he throttled the mic and shrieked venomously and it seemed more genuine than any performance I've seen in a long time. It's easy to look longingly at the pictures that adorn the walls of this infamous venue and feel that whatever existed then can never repeat itself, then take a look at the stage and a rare feeling tells you that this is the real deal.
They've made an unexpected album of the year, and while their influences are abundantly clear they are mere jumping off points for a truly unique style of punk. They play songs that should really last for less than a minute but are morphed into epic monsters - and they play out these monsters with the tightness of a longtime ensemble. I've enjoyed the album so much this year (it was slim pickings until they came along) but I was so pleased not to see a bunch of skinny jeaned kids rehashing other peoples performances. Instead I bore witness to a fucking hard punk gig, but one played out with intelligence and bucket loads of passion.