Review: Titus Andronicus, Ceremony fuse punk, indie rock at Crowbar in Ybor City
The former’s howling, Replacements-esque sound has been championed by Pitchfork and Rolling Stone, while the latter group has gone from playing powerviolence to that most indie of acts — being signed to Matador Records.
So it only seemed like a matter of time that the two bands would find each other. The two are putting out a split together (“We set a tree on a fire,” Ceremony vocalist Ross Farrar (above) said, matter-of-factly explaining the flame-engulfed cover of their side.) Now they’re touring together, including a show Monday at Crowbar in Ybor City. Starting with Tiny Empires (featuring members of Tampa’s New Bruises and O Pioneers!!!), the show was all about the two worlds of indie and punk.
The crowd for Ceremony’s set visually demonstrated this divide, split between timid, polite concertgoers and raucous hardcore fans. The latter stage-dived with abandon, even though the sparse crowd meant they got about one second of airtime before being dropped back to the ground.
Farrar’s energy certainly hasn’t changed over time. He lunged into the crowd, walked around with a shirt over his head and slammed a drumstick against surfaces to replicate the hook of Terminal Addiction. The crowd was mostly receptive for a setlist that almost entirely focused on their last two albums Zoo and Rohnert Park.
Then Titus Andronicus took the stage for a long set that spanned most of their new album Local Business, as well quite a bit off their previous two records. Frontman Patrick Stickles appeared clean-shaven and chiseled, no longer sporting the album-appropriate beard he had for the Civil War concept album The Monitor.
Perhaps within that beard was the brooding that made The Monitor so popular, because Monday’s show was a surprisingly upbeat rock ’n’ roll show. Some songs sounded downright like The Ramones, such as Food Fight! and a new song called I’ve Got a Date Tonight — where the titles are essentially the lyrics.
That’s not to say the show was entirely sunshine and rainbows — how could it be with a band whose new album opens with the lines “Okay, by now I think we’ve established everything is inherently worthless?” Yet there’s no denying Titus Andronicus’ set brought a joyous sound to the sorrows, even finding room for a feral cover of Do You Love Me?
One crowd member complained they weren’t gloomy enough, to which Stickles replied, “Well, you’re going to hate this next song then,” before launching into the jubilant (I Am The) Electric Man.
The band closed with three songs from The Monitor, with the epic 14-minute The Battle of Hampton Roads as their triumphant finale. Yet the band played their entire discography skillfully enough, from Local Business’ In a Big City to their first album Titus Andronicus, to satisfy any fan. Just don’t expect it to sound entirely like gloom and doom anymore.
— Jimmy Geurts, tbt*