While this was not a co-headlining venture between these two bands, it sure felt like it as Ceremony walked on stage a circle pit already broke out before the band even hit a single note. As soon as the sound of a snare drum was heard, the crowd unleashed hell. Fists, feet, arms, and any other limb that could swing and move was flying around the legendary club's floor. Ceremony bring a no-nonsense style of abrasive punk/hardcore that mimics the genres early days of bands like X, Black Flag, The Germs, Dead Kennedys, and Minor Threat. The band, who released their brilliant and best album, Zoo, earlier this year (It even made our Honorable Mentions list), managed to keep their abrasive style but added melodies and hooks to their sound. Think Ian MacKaye shifting gears from Minor Threat to Fugazi. Singer Ross Farrar, who looks like a young Morrissey, did his best to keep his white shirt tucked into his pants, but it was pointless with the amount of dancing and moving he was doing on stage. Ceremony were a sight to be seen, and as their 45-minute showcase progressed, the crowd just got wilder. Bassist Andy Nelson even had to stop for a second and address the crowd to say, "I know it's really hard to be a white male in America and you have to let out a lot of aggression, but when you punch people you don't know in the face, you look fucking ridiculous." While some applauded, and some booed, it did not do much to ease tensions with those who were still having it their way and even climbing on stage like they were storming The Bastille. It was 45-minutes of a day that many will never forget, Ceremony capped off an amazing 2012 with affirmation that they are one of the best bands doing this these days.
After cleaning the chaos from Ceremony, it was then time for Titus Andronicus to headline the night. The band, who just released their latest record, Local Business, last month finally returned back to the area to bring the record to life. While Local Business is the first Titus record to feature the same line-up of members that recorded it going on the road, singer Patrick Stickles (Still freshly shaven, though we miss the lumberjack beard) seems to have solidified the revolving door of his bands ever changing line-up. Opening with "Ecco Homme," and then going into "Still Life with Hot Deuce on Silver Platter," off Local Business, Titus had the crowd less rowdy as Ceremony but still dancing and jumping on stage. While the new songs sound solid, it was the older Titus tracks that got everyones attention. Songs like "Richard II," "Four Score and Seven," "Titus Andronicus," "No Future Part Three: Escape From No Future," and the brilliant, "A More Perfect Union," got the most applause. Yet, the fan favorites were missing something and that was multi-instrumentalist Amy Klein, who left the band in 2011. Klein's ability to seamlessly switch from guitar to violin and sing while doing so was an intricate part to last years line-up, now, the band are doing their best to fill those missing pieces in her absence. While Titus is an all boys club fronted by Stickles, they still pack a mean punch and know how to put on a punk rock bonanza. Tossing in a few covers like The Contours, "Do You Love Me?" and the encore of The Rolling Stones, "Brown Sugar," it was the best way to kick off the beginning of a new week. Though, getting up for work the next day, well, that is another story.
Titus Andronicus Webster Hall 12/2/12 Setlist:
Still Life with Hot Deuce on Silver Platter
My Time Outside the Womb
No Future Part Three: Escape From No Future
Four Score and Seven
To Old Friends And New
(I Am the) Electric Man
Do You Love Me? - The Contours cover
In a Big City
Upon Viewing Oregon's Landscape With the Flood of Detritus
A More Perfect Union
Titus Andronicus Forever
The Battle of Hampton Roads
Brown Sugar - Rolling Stones cover