Last Night: Titus Andronicus, Soviet and Fight Amp at Club Dada

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Titus Andronicus, Soviet, Fight Amp
Club Dada
April 20, 2011

Better than: missing any of the number of shows that were going on last night.

The name Titus Andronicus, taken from a Shakespearean tragedy, implies the anger, frustration, and a desire for the kind of vindication that the band's musical material struggles with.

Thing is, the band looks rather meek -- frontman Patrick Stickles' movements are awkward and jerky, at times making him appear uncomfortable with the amount of attention he receives.

But appearances can be deceiving.

"We just want to have a good time" Stickles mumbled into his microphone near the start of his band's set at Club Dada last night, squinting out at his audience, and hunched over his American flag-adorned guitar.

From then on, the band kept up a consistent repertoire with the audience between songs, fielding questions about their online videos and, among other things, Stickles' Batman T-shirt, which, turns out, came from a gas station.

"I got it for three dollars," he said. "I'm not sure if the deal's still good, though."

The show was, though: In preparation for the headliners' performance, crowd members set their glasses, watches and beer bottles at the front of the stage, hoping to protect them from the upcoming revelry.

And the band's set indeed grabbed a hold of the audience and refused to let go once it reached full swing, providing a visceral assault on the senses and emotions of those in attendance. The crowd, though, seemed confused, having a tough time deciding between dancing and moshing, and eventually settling on a hybrid between the two.

Titus Andronicus, meanwhile, played with unmatched fervor, their performance becoming more and more frantic as the night wore on, in response to the crowd's enthusiasm. Band member Amy Klein repeatedly commandeered the stage with her bright blue violin, more than matching the rest of the band's frenzied pace, while Stickles wailed away on his guitar and jumped back and forth across the stage.

As well he should have: The audience roared the band's lyrics back at them, chests thumping and fists flying as they chanted, "You will always be a loser! You will always be a loser! You will always be a loser!" a self-indictment rather than a disparagement, as heard in the band's song "No Future Part III: Escape From No Future."

Before the final number, Stickles grabbed a UT flag that a crowd member had been tossing around and started using it as his prop, flailing it around violently in emphasis of the song as he jumped into the audience.

Soon after, much to the dismay of the crowd, the show ended. Titus Andronicus promised to return to Dallas soon, but, as evidenced by the faces in the crowd, it won't be soon enough.

Critic's Notebook

Personal Bias: Titus' latest album, The Monitor, was one of the best albums of 2010. Yeah, it's based on the Civil War, but, rather than being gimmicky, it's a powerfully emotional album that deserves the praise it has received.

By The Way: I would be remiss if I didn't say anything about the opening act, Dallas' Soviet, who put on the most irreverent, funny (in a good way) and ass-kicking performance that I'd seen in a very long time. Kudos to them.

Random Note: I could practically count the number of women in attendance on one hand. What gives?

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