I don’t know if any band has made me want to grow a beard more then Titus Andronicus. Now true, one’s facial hair has very little to do with how good their band is. In fact there is a band actually called “The Beards” and they all have facial hair and honestly I hate listening to them. However Titus Andronicus simply makes great music, beards or not.
Named after Shakespeare’s tragic play, the now 4-piece band just played in Salt Lake City’s Kilby Court Monday night. Kilby Court, best described as a two-and-a-half car garage, has hosted the New Jersey natives each of the three times they have played in the state of Utah. Despite Rolling Stone naming them one of seven best new bands in 2010 and giving their latest album “Local Business” a 37th placing on their top 50 albums of 2012, they don’t draw much of a crowd.
I talked to lead singer Patrick Stickles before the show who said when they first played Salt Lake City in 2008 there was a 6:5 Titus Andronicus to audience ratio…six band members to the five people in the crowed. However, this didn’t prevent them from rocking out as if there had been tens of thousands of people there and Monday night’s show was no different. Though more then 5 people showed up this time (about 50) they again played with the kind of energy and emotion I see in few bands. It’s almost like they are able to become more intimate because of the small crowd and transfer their energy and emotion directly to the audience.
It was somewhere between debating with him before the show about if the quality of sound when listening to an actual CD out beats the convenience of having all your music digitized, his insistence that the size extra large should actually be what a large is and just seeing him wear sweat pants and a fanny pack talking about how they just got a CD player in their van that I realized he is as honest and sincere as the music he writes.
The song ‘My Eating Disorder’ off their latest album becomes extremely honest about Stikles eating disorder known as selective eating. Never wanting to talk about the issue, Stikles decided to write a song about it as a way to force himself to talk about the issue.
“In art, there should be no secrets, really, so I decided to play out that concept in the most personal way for myself and see what was there, and hopefully in the process maybe empower some of our fans that might be dealing with similar issues.”
Somehow I find myself, along with everyone else around, singing as loud as I can “Spit it out!” along with him almost as an anthem for the thing each of us struggle with in our own lives.
If you have not heard any of Titus Andronicus’ music, I implore you to give it a chance. If you like Neutral Milk Hotel or wish Conor Oberst wrote songs that rocked a little bit more, chances are you’ll get into Titus Andronicus.