by John Miller
Three bands tonight, three good bands, putting on a good show. Once projectiles are hurled into the general vicinity of the live music, that’s usually a sign of a good show. I can see how that may be misconstrued, trust me though, everyone was into it.
Baked - Opening the festivities promptly at 9:30, Baked put on a risky set. Not in a pejorative sense but their style (low-fuzz stoner rock) tends to be somewhat difficult to pull off live as there is a tendency for muddiness. The guitar and bass levels are so high tonight that I had a difficult time making out what all the mumbling was about. In addition to the vocals, I really wanted to hear what that woodgrain vintage Casio was all about. Baked didn’t really seem to care though, which ended up being an interesting parallel to what would follow later. Despite the levels, the music is well composed and definitely something one could put on in the background if one was partial to getting, well, baked (that was bad, I apologize).
Spider Bags - The Spider Bags took some time to get situated. From what I could make out from the intermediate asides between songs, they traded some old, broken amps for some suspect guitars with issues. Midway through their third song, tuning issues solved, the garage rupturing feedback was doing its thing nicely; Knobs spinning and turning, lots of resonance and pitch coming from their newly acquired instruments. Lots of that mid-song banter ended up being drowned out by said resonance but that oblivious attitude worked well with the wild solos that littered the set. There was a sloppiness to it but not in a bad way, more like an earnest passion that just needs to expressed in any way possible. Certainly an interesting contrast to Baked; we went from, “Fuck you, I don't really care”, to “Fuck! Sometimes I can't control myself and this is coming out whether you like it or not”. Both attitudes played very well tonight.
Titus Andronicus - The show’s last set was a quick one; Titus Andronicus hopped on stage, tuned their instruments, said thanks and left. It wouldn’t be a punk show without some subtle jabs at the audience. And we waited as Wu-Tang Clan ran through the PA as it sounded like there were opposing chants of ‘Nats’ and ‘Os’ came from the patient parishioners. And as the 36 Chambers shuts their doors, Patrick walked up on stage and begans with a sermon; Life and Punk. The flock was more than receptive and less than a minute into the set they were singing along, helping with the lyrics to Upon Viewing Brueghel's "Landscape With the Fall of Icarus”. Aside from the new stuff (which was longer than I was expecting), there were sing-a-longs throughout the evening. But that should have been expected, especially at a sold show. It always amazes me how these guys from Jersey and New York are so good at being relatable. But I guess songs like “No Future Part Three: Escape From No Future” are pretty universal; every one’s a loser on some level. Titus Andronicus is most certainly gifted; they showed the fine line between being earnest and relatable and being earnest and full of shit.