LPR Lists

An LPR Memory: Fucked Up and Titus Andronicus – Michael Hanf, Box Office



The beautiful thing about seeing Damian Abraham run at you in all his sweaty, hairy, red-faced glory is that it doesn’t seem dangerous or scary at all. It’s life affirming and inspiring. It’s inclusive in a way that can’t be replicated in any other medium. In a way that makes you feel like seeing Fucked Up isn’t just a performance, it’s real life magnified infinitely.
Fucked Up at LPR - photo by Adam Siegel
And at LPR, it was presented in the strangest possible way: in the round, with a string quartet. While the crowd was wildly moshing, throwing things, throwing each other, jumping on and off the stage in pure anarchic bliss, we have the Calder quartet, sheet music and all, rocking out in their seats by the band until a song ends and their turn begins. And through the roar of the crowd, you hear Damien yelling into the microphone for everyone to shut up and listen to the strings. The cynic in me would call it Canadian politeness. But being at the show, it seemed more like reverence.
Maybe reverence seems like a strong and indulgent word for it. But, this was a strong and indulgent show. David Comes to Life is a concept record so expansive that it birthed a second record (David’s Town) that contains singles from fictional bands that our hero David was supposedly listening to in the world that is David Comes to Life. In England. In 1977.
Fucked Up & Calder Quartet at LPR - photo by Adam Siegel
Which is why Titus Andronicus was the perfect band to share a bill with them. At the time they were touring The Monitor, which is also a concept record. In a grand sense, it’s about the American Civil War, about a breakup, about the ACW as a metaphor for a breakup. On a more personal micro-level, it’s about New Jersey, the experience of growing up in a small town and the unique dichotomy of loving where you’re from but wanting to move past it.
Titus Andronicus at LPR - photo by Adam Seigel
This might sound corny. I’ll admit it certainly looks like it. The thing is, I’m not reviewing their albums. None of this would make the full impact unless you were there when Patrick Stickles picked a random person out of the crowd to do the opening monologue to A More Perfect Union. Or when a member of Fucked Up broke a pedal during the first song and had to borrow one from Titus. Or when I was looking through the crowd to figure out where Damien was, turned around and realized he was barreling towards me and had to jump out of the way before he plowed through the VIP section and made everyone I could see smile. Or when the show stopped being a show and became a collective experience.
There was a noble, desperate innocence about it. The music wasn’t about screaming to be heard or understood. It was to be enjoyed, and it made life seem more of a group effort and less lonely than normal. The combination of music, performance and presentation was special. Everything about that night was important, but not in an arty way. It was like having a beer with a family member or having your friend’s back in a fight. Not earth shattering, but personally shattering. I hear they’re playing shows together again. You should check it out.
Titus Andronicus at LPR - photo by Adam Seigel
A quick story: Patrick bummed a light from me before the show. I didn’t recognize him. He looked like my roommates or any other person who would ask me for a lighter on the street. That combination of being a normal person off stage and an inspiration on stage is one of the weird, special, affecting and wonderful things about seeing a show. At that moment he was some dude. An hour later he was my voice and the voice of every person in the room. It was special. Maybe it’s sophomoric to end this with a quote from The Monitor, but hell, they use so many quotes on that album anyway, so why not. “The reasons for living are seldom and few/when you see one, you better stick to it like glue.”
Watch the show on Pitchfork.tv.
text by Michael Hanf
photos by Adam Seigel