No; this will not be a reenactment of Shakespeare’s bloodiest revenge tragedy. However, this night might just be equally heroic.
I first heard Titus Andronicus through their momentous 2010 album The Monitor. That was a concept album loosely based around the U.S. Civil War, and included interludes containing readings of Abraham Lincoln speeches. The album was far more personal than that however, dealing with lead singer Patrick Stickles’ homesickness for New Jersey (speaking of Jersey; if you’re a fan of Springsteen, this isn’t one to risk missing) after moving to Boston. The ability that Stickles has to intertwine his own private experiences with that of the truly epic is Titus Andronicus’ greatest weapon.
Their most recent album, The Most Lamentable Tragedy, takes a similar track. Possibly the band’s most ambitious project to date, it clocks in at just under 93 minutes and is made up of 5 acts following “Our Hero”. Rock Operas are often great in theory, but they have the ability to be overly self-indulgent and bloated. Titus Andronicus gracefully avoid these pitfalls; they keep the intensity ratcheted up nearly all the time (obvious piss-break at this gig, there will not be), but again what’s more notable is Stickles’ ability to make something so personal out of something so grand. Our Hero’s adventures and dream sequences all act as a metaphor for Stickles’ own battles with manic depression.
The band is DIY to their very core (refusing any of their music be used for advertising), so The Crescent, York’s best independent venue, is a perfect fit. Expect it to be a raucous night for the most part, but don’t be surprised if you see the crowd going wild to your left whilst you experience something truly emotional. It’s Titus Andronicus’ greatest trick.
Titus Andronicus play The Crescent in York on the 6th of June. For tickets, click here.By Harry Rosehill