After serving 25 years as one of the best venues in the tri-state area, Maxwell’s restaurant/club in Hoboken, NJ will be closing its doors for good next week (QRO venue review). It only seems fitting for a huge Jersey-pride band like Titus Andronicus to play three consecutive nights during the venue’s final month of existence.
The crowd for Titus’ second show on Monday, July 15th, mainly consisted of two types of people: folks who have been going to Maxwell’s their entire lives, and kids who have just caught tail end of its legacy. Many of the Maxwell’s veterans at the show weren’t surprised by this sudden influx of first time visitors – it’s been a while since the gentrification of Hoboken turned five-nights-a-week regulars into once-a-month visitors.
“It’s like that dead kid in high school,” said one guy, “Everyone’s talking about what an awesome kid he was. But, you know, why couldn’t you appreciate him like that when he was alive?”
Thankfully, the tragedy of Maxwell’s did not dampen the spirit of the show.
The special guest openers were the Screaming Females, who opened the night with all the force and clarity you’d expect from a Screaming Females set. The overwhelming amount of energy coming from Marissa Paternoster’s small stature caught many first-time listeners by surprise.
After a brief monologue by singer/guitarist Patrick Stickles (there was a lot of those during this show), Titus Andronicus kicked off with a cover of “I Hate Sports” by 7 Seconds. The first half of their set was packed with all the familiar bits of Titus: they started with songs from The Airing of Grievances, transitioning into the popular “A More Perfect Union/Titus Andronicus Forever” from The Monitor (QRO review) then playing all of Local Business (QRO review) from start to finish.
Of course, a Titus show wouldn’t be a Titus show without the devoted group of fans moshing wildly up front. Cramped merely inches away from the band, the audience played a bigger-than-usual role in this show. Someone from the crowd was crafty enough to bring a handful of American flags, which kept appearing now and then in the hands (or mouth) of Stickles throughout the show; two girls in the crowd came with homemade shirts with the words “Fear and Loathing in Mahwah, NJ”, so the band spontaneously added the song onto the set list; there was also a point when Stickles played the guitar with a shoe taken from a crowdsurfer.
Dedicating a brief portion of the show to couples and the topic of relationships, the band played “The Dog” and “(I’ve Got) a Date Tonight” from their Record Store Day 12’’ as well as a cover of “My Best Friend’s Girl” by The Cars.
After ending the show with the uplifting “No Future Part Three: Escape From No Future” and “The Battle of Hampton Roads”, Titus Andronicus quickly walked off and the crowd dispersed (with the majority headed on the PATH back to New York).
On the way out, one of the older members of the audience grumbled, “Hope you kids enjoyed this while you can, because without Maxwell’s, Hoboken is a sad cultural wasteland.”