Fresh off the release of their sixth studio album, An Obelisk, New Jersey rockers Titus Andronicus took to the stage at the Bootleg Theater in Koreatown for what became an even more special night than fans could have ever dreamed of.
The night began with an ear-piercing set from the Philadelphia post-punk trio, Control Top, who got the crowd moving in an instant with screaming vocals from Ali Carter and uniformed drumming from Alex Lichtenauer. The crowd appeared to be in shock at first, but after the third or fourth song, we all became accustomed to their style and happily strapped in for the rest of the performance. By the end of their set, new fans were made and the crowd was fully primed for what was about to happen once Patrick Stickles and company took the stage.
An eager audience stood silently as Titus Andronicus’ lead vocalist and guitarist, Patrick Stickles, stepped on stage for what became an informative 5 minute speech warning the crowd to enjoy themselves throughout the night, but to also respect each other’s spaces and to make sure everyone was safe and having a good time. Once he got his point across, he kicked off the night with a solo performance of “To Old Friends And New”, which was a beautiful setup for the rest of the band to come out and melt our faces for nearly 2 full hours.
The rest of the show quickly turned into a career-spanning performance that old fans and new fans appreciated greatly from the get go. Hits like “Fatal Flaw” from the group’s 2015 album, The Most Lamentable Tragedy, were screamed at the top of every fan’s lungs word for word and the band even busted out “Above The Bodega (Local Business)” from 2018’s A Productive Cough. Peppered in between songs though, Patrick warned us that even though their last few albums such as the aforementioned A Productive Cough and Local Business may have flopped commercially, he was still proud of them and equally made sure that those songs would be played no matter the views the general public had on them. Seeing those “less desired” songs be played live changed nearly everyone’s perspective and the crowd ate it up entirely.
The rest of the night turned into a punk rocker’s dream setlist and the band even hinted at a surprise coming towards the end. After a stream of loud, abrasive, yet catchy rock anthems, Patrick simmered the moshing crowd down to sincerely thank every one of us for taking the time out of our lives to support the group and to prepare for the final tracks in the set list.
After his quick bit ended, the rest of the band geared up for one of their most well known hits, “The Battle Of Hampton Roads”, off of arguably their most successful album, The Monitor. 15 full minutes of tasty guitar riffs, succinct bass, and tight drumming got the crowd riled up beyond capacity to the point where drinks were being thrown up in the air in celebration and concert-goers were stage diving into a compacted crowd. Titus Andronicus thanked the crowd profusely for their time and immediately jetted into “A More Perfect Union” to close out the main set. Another 7 minutes of heaven went by as Patrick’s classic raspiness shined through and left the crowd begging for more as they quickly exited the stage.
“One more song! One more song!” was being yelled and screamed by the crowd and so of course the entire group got back up on stage for that surprise that was hinted at earlier in the set. Patrick ran to the mic and introduced his guest for their last song of the night, podcast and comedy legend, Marc Maron! Maron was handed a beautiful cream colored Fender Jazzmaster and the band paid tribute to Neil Young in the form of a punk cover of “Rockin’ In The Free World”. Everyone was in pure awe of Maron’s shredding abilities as he soloed during the song’s breakdown and even joined in on vocals. We all erupted in applause as the band said their final thank you’s and left to the merch table for an after show meet-and-greet.
To wrap things up, if Titus Andronicus ever comes to a city near you (which they should be on this 63-date Fall tour they’ve just begun), grab your tickets quick and strap in for a wild ride.
Words by Austin Sher
Photos by Austin Sher & Ben LaCross