You know the feeling you get when you’re seeing something that just transcends everything you’ve ever seen or been a part of? It’s rare, but amazing, isn’t it?
Well, I’ve had the privilege of having that feeling twice in the past week: once Friday night during Titus Andronicus and Free Energy’s show (this post) and then the next day at Virgin Mobile FreeFest (more on that later, but soon).
Titus Andronicus and Free Energy played along with local Last Tide to a sold out Rock & Roll Hotel in what was one of the most intense shows I’ve ever been to, but also one of the most uniting feelings ever, as, let me tell you, there is nothing greater than screaming “The enemy is everywhere” or “Rally around the flag” with every single person in an entire venue. I’ve gotten in the habit of classifying every decent-to-good show I’ve been to as one of the best I’ve ever been to, but Titus Andronicus provided a new measuring stick.
Free Energy opened up with their brand of psychedelic-infused pop rock, and the only question that ran through my head during the entire set was, “Are these guys the next big thing?”
Honestly, the energy put out by the band was free (did you see what I did there?) and ultimately infectious. At the beginning of the set, opened with “Free Energy,” only a few diehard fans with glowsticks were chanting along with the songs. But as the set went on and Titus Andronicus’ Amy Klein joined the band to shred on another song before Titus frontman Patrick Stickles joined Free Energy on stage for a performance of Bruce Springsteen’s “I’m Going Down.” It was at this point that the venue exploded, chanting along with the chorus and running around as Klein joined the crowd and started a mosh pit.
After “I’m Going Down,” Stickles remained on stage for a rousing rendition of Free Energy’s “Bang Pop,” an instant sing-a-long before the set ended with more songs that I didn’t know. Free Energy was great, and it made me that much more excited for Titus Andronicus.
The band set up and over the opening chord of “A More Perfect Union,” Stickles talked to the audience about having a great time but still respecting the other people in the audience before saying “Let’s make this the best Friday night ever.” At that point, the drums kicked in and Titus went off on the opener to it’s epic The Monitor. Everyone sang along, everyone danced along, and there was not a quiet throat or pair of feet in the audience.
It was simply amazing. The events of Saturday have made Friday night’s show a little muddled in my mind, but every song that Titus played was crisp and just epic. The sound and the style and the sing-a-long nature of each track was nearly overwhelming in the type of experience.
The band raced through songs old and new, but the most epic juncture was the performance of “The Battle of Hampton Roads” in its entirety. Complete with the bagpipes solo piped through feedback. There is nearly no more intense feeling than having Amy Klein rip the solo from that song two inches from your face. Truly epic.
My friends had told me that Titus Andronicus was a band that I needed to see live, and I was not disappointed one bit. The band even threw a little punk tribute out there with a performance of Bikini Kill’s “Rebel Girl,” which featured Klein running all over the stage and jumping up and down in exhilarating fashion.
By the time the band left the stage, I was exhausted. I was drenched in sweat. It was 1 am. I had to be up for FreeFest in a few hours. But it was so so worth it. I can’t quite say Titus Andronicus changed my life, but they definitely gave me a show to think about for a long, long time.