Titus Andronicus, Soft Environmental Collapse, Bizarro Kids

It's hard to dislike Titus Andronicus. Even if you're not a fan of main man Patrick Stickles' distinctly Conor Oberst-aping vocals, it's nearly impossible not to get swept up in the band's momentum, a flurry of classic bar-band bravado and strident indie-rock.

Their debut album, The Airing of Grievances, may have read like a Seinfeld reference, but rather than coming across as an album about nothing, it achieved the opposite, cramming everything from personal politics to Shakespearean wordplay to pop culture probing into its nine tightly wound tracks. Their new album, The Monitor, is loosely based on the Civil War and rocks with the same frenetic energy.

And even if all that doesn't get you on their good side, Stickles' account of the band's set as a Weezer cover band for last year's Vice Halloween Party earns him all the goodwill one could muster. On the band's blog, he rails against his struggles with assaulting security guards, coke-addled hipsters, a lackluster set from hardcore legends Bad Brains—all tests of his patience and fortitude endured in his Halloween costume, that of a "glam-rock Ulysses S. Grant." It's the sort of story that reads like a hilarious joke, made all the more poignant by its stinging truth and wit, just like the band's work.

Two local acts, Bizarro Kids and Ishi side project Soft Environmental Collapse, open.

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