Scottsdale's Chyro Arts doesn't have many concerts to go, which is really a shame. As shoegazey New Jersey punks Titus Andronicus noted in their own way the sometimes music venue/sometimes theater has a distinct vibe.
"We want you to feel free to sit on the couches while we play," said singer Patrick Stickles before the band played a 45-minute set culled from the band's latest record, The Monitor. "It's totally punk rock to do whatever you want, so if that makes you comfortable..."
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I'll sincerely miss the couches at Chyro, and I'm sure I'm not the only one. Like most of the rest of the impressive Monday night crowd, I passed on the chance to sit down while Stickles and his bandmates tore through ambitiously conceptual songs like "The Battle of Hampton Roads" and "A More Perfect Union" from their Civil War-steeped record, but it was nice to know I had the option.
Titus put on a great show. Things were at their punkest during "No Future Part Three" and at their most mellow during "Four Score and Seven" but the band kept things at a pretty even keel, neither slowing it down too much or going for broke at any point.
That was fine with me. Two albums into their career -- but with an ever-shifting lineup -- Titus showed a lot of ambition and some great playing, but not the sort of showmanship I'll expect by the time the band is back in Phoenix supporting a new album.
That'll work, though. The band, unlike the venue, has a few good shows in it.