Titus Andronicus - The Bottleneck, Lawrence, KS - Gigs - Reviews - Soundblab

Titus Andronicus - The Bottleneck, Lawrence, KS

by Tim Sentz Rating: Release Date:
Titus Andronicus - The Bottleneck, Lawrence, KS
Titus Andronicus - The Bottleneck, Lawrence, KS

It’s hard to believe this, but Titus Andronicus are one of the few bands that I can rely on to hit up the Kansas City market on almost every album tour. Which they legitimately have done. I’ve seen them on each of those tours – they rocked the hell out of the Riot Room in 2011, riding high off of their 2010 masterpiece The Monitor.

Again in 2013 at the Jackpot Music Hall where they managed to cram a nice sized crowd in for Local Business cuts; and the last time was in 2016 at The Bottleneck in Lawrence when they pummeled the Jayhawks with their most expansive record to date The Most Lamentable Tragedy.

Ted Leo on the other hand, hasn’t been to the area since 2010, during his tour for the Brutalist Bricks, so his return was a bit of a bigger deal. And while he was without the Pharmacists, Leo rocked the Bottleneck on Monday night with just an electric guitar and is old-school punk aesthetic. There were newer cuts off of last year’s The Hanged Man, but naturally, he received the biggest response from his earlier material like “The High Party,” “Where Have All the Rude Boys Gone?” and “Under the Hedge.” Leo’s been in the game a long time, longer than Titus has obviously, but he still gave it his all for the handful of folks who showed up at 9 o’clock. As more people trickled in, Titus Andronicus joined him on stage for a full band version of Leo’s most memorable track “Me and Mia.” A welcomed return for Leo, even if the crowd was minor, he delivered the goods.

The same can almost be said for Titus Andronicus, who came out a bit later than usual, and started out with a stripped-down version of The Monitor highlight “To Old Friends and New” – traditionally a piano ballad with dual female vocals, rendered here to just Stickles and a guitar. Titus has gone through multiple line-up changes over the years with Stickles being the most consistent member. This leads to different iterations of classics. Now a 4-piece, their Lawrence set was unusually brief.

They managed to fit in their hard-hitting singles like “Fired Up,” “Dimed Out,” and the always-a-barn-burner “Titus Andronicus.” But instead of continuing that hot start, things shifted with the inclusion of “Home Alone” off of the bands newest and most maligned record to date A Productive Cough, which is more of a Stickles record than a Titus record. Even more bewildering was the choice to play “Home Alone,” a track that has very little diversity in its sound but stretches for over 8 minutes. The evening rebounded with their most iconic song “A More Perfect Union,” the banging-opener to The Monitor. After that, it was just a Bruce Springsteen cover (“Glory Days”) before the evening was wrapped up.

This being my fourth time checking out Titus, it was definitely the least entertaining of shows. Maybe it was an off night, or maybe it was the lack of incentive considering the size of the crowd that night – definitely much smaller than I’ve seen at other shows for them, but it was a Monday in a college town. All in all, for what time they were on stage, Titus brought the adrenaline and ferocity they are known for, with a couple of missteps along the way. It won’t stop me from catching them the next time they are in town either, but hopefully, they’ll be in better shape when they do.

 

Photo credit: Nichola McDowell

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